Concern has been raised to the welfare of carriage pulling horses in terms of breeds used, the occurrence of lameness, poor body condition, the effects of heat and environmental stressors. There is also weak legislation surrounding the regulation of carriage horses. The aim of this study was to identify the Bahamian publics perception of welfare of carriage horses used for tourism in The Bahamas. Objectives included determining the Bahamian publics understanding of welfare and welfare needs, and whether perceptions were influenced by level of education or experience with horses. An online questionnaire made available via Survey monkey was completed by 24 respondents from the general public of The Bahamas. Open-ended and closed questions were included, with perceptions scored using a Likert scale (1 = low welfare; 5 = high welfare). Differences in scores between levels of education and number of years experience with horses were analysed using independent t-tests (P<0.05). Qualitative data were analysed using thematic content analysis. Out of the 24 participants, 67% had prior experience with carriage horses, 25% had no experience and 8% were unsure. When asked to describe welfare, all respondents were found to show some understanding of the term welfare. The perception of welfare of these carriage horses was viewed negatively by the population; when rating the welfare of carriage horses, 83% scored 1 with none scoring above 3. When asked if participants felt that the use of carriage horses for tourism should continue all participants chose no (79%) or not sure (21%). Responses were not affected by education or equine experience. Results suggest that the participants from the general Bahamian public understood what welfare was and welfare needs were; validating concerns in the media. Research on carriage horses in general is lacking, while research I horses in the Bahamas is non-existent. Therefore further research is needed to determine the validity of these concerns to determine whether action needs to be taken to ensure positive welfare in these horses.
|Number of pages||1|
|Publication status||Published - May 2019|
|Event||9th Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference - Hartpury University, United Kingdom|
Duration: 8 May 2019 → 8 May 2019
|Conference||9th Alltech-Hartpury Student Conference|
|Period||8/5/19 → 8/5/19|