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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Swedish Trotting Horse Trainers' Perceptions of Animal Welfare Inspections from Public and Private Actors

Hedman, Frida Lundmark; Ewerlof, Ivana Rodriguez; Frossling, Jenny; Berg, Charlotte

Abstract

Simple Summary Harness racing is the most common form of horse racing in Sweden. As public awareness of animal welfare is increasing, the welfare of these horses must be ensured. Trotting horse trainers in Sweden undergo an official animal welfare inspection by the County Administrative Board (CAB) and a private inspection by their own association, the Swedish Trotting Association (STA). This study investigated trainers' perceptions of these different inspections using a digital questionnaire sent out during spring 2021. Of the 396 responding trainers, a majority reported quite positive experiences of both CAB and STA inspections. However, most perceived the STA inspections to be more valuable and the STA inspectors to be more competent than the CAB inspectors. Overall, the competence and manner of the inspector had a stronger association with trainers' perceptions of an inspection than the results of the inspection. While trainers were generally satisfied with the control system, they would like better coordination between the different inspections. In Sweden, the County Administrative Board (CAB) and Swedish Trotting Association (STA) both perform animal welfare inspections of the premises of trotting horse trainers. The CAB inspection checks for compliance with the legislation, and the STA inspection checks for compliance with the private 'Trotter Health Standard', which mainly sets the same requirements as the legislation. This study investigated the views of trainers on these inspections both as separate events and in relation to each other. A digital questionnaire was sent out to trotting horse trainers in Sweden during spring 2021, and 396 trainers responded. Descriptive and statistical analyses were used to evaluate the responses. In general, the trainers reported positive experiences of both the CAB and STA inspections, but they had consistently more positive views about the private STA inspections than the official CAB inspections. The outcome of the inspections, i.e., non-compliance or not, did not affect trainers' perceptions of the inspections, but inspectors' knowledge, manner, and responsiveness had a strong effect. The trainers were generally satisfied with the current control system but would like better coordination between the different inspections.

Keywords

compliance; control; experience; legislation; private standards

Published in

Animals
2022, volume: 12, number: 11, article number: 1441
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health
Ewerlof, Ivana Rodriguez
National Veterinary Institute SVA
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health
Frossling, Jenny
National Veterinary Institute SVA
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Environment and Health

UKÄ Subject classification

Other Veterinary Science
Animal and Dairy Science

Publication Identifiers

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/ani12111441

URI (permanent link to this page)

https://res.slu.se/id/publ/117566