Have your say: Equine welfare survey


The comment period for the “Equine Code of Practice” has now ended. Thank you for helping to ensure animals’ well-being is considered in this consultation.

  • The National Farm Animal Care Council’s (NFACC) Equine Code of Practice serves as a guideline for the on-farm care and handling of horses raised in Canada, including horses used for rodeos, racing, and slaughter. 
  • The code of practice is up for review for the first time since 2013 and NFACC is seeking public input on what issues to consider when reviewing and updating the code.
  • The current code allows for aversive handling practices that cause stress and fear to horses.
  • Note that the code does not include transport, such as the live export of horses for slaughter; it only includes on-farm practices and deciding if individual horses are fit for transport.

Your input needed to identify top welfare issues

Can you take a moment to fill out the short survey and share your top 3 concerns you think NFACC should consider? The deadline to complete the survey is May 16, 2024.

  • Scroll down to read a few of the top welfare issues you may want to consider.
  • Share your top 3 priorities in the survey.
  • Please use your own words (do not copy and paste the wording below) and be respectful and constructive.
  • Feedback that includes duplicate responses and/or profanity or derogatory language will not be considered by NFACC. 

Photo: Canadian Horse Defence Coalition

Top welfare priorities

Aversive handling & training 

Prohibit aversive handling, training methods and tools that involve the use of fear, pain or stress to make horses perform an activity or behaviour. 

Many modern training practices are still largely based on historical methods that rely heavily on punishment. While horses may appear “calm”, they are often experiencing learned helplessness. This condition occurs when the horse experiences a painful or negative situation repeatedly and is unable to escape or change the outcome. This results in a negative mental state for the horse. 

Environment & enrichment 

Improve requirements to ensure access to appropriate space, shelter, and dry, clean pen conditions. 

This is important in preventing lameness and other health issues.

Improve requirements to ensure opportunities to forage, turnout/free pasture time, and socialize.

This is crucial for reducing stress and stereotypic behaviour.

Health & lameness

Require that pin firing (thermocautery) not be performed.

Pin firing is a painful procedure that involves burning or freezing the skin and tissue of the affected leg. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) opposes the practice as it “is ineffective and is inconsistent with evidence-based medicine”.