Assessment of the Welfare of Racehorses in Central Java, Indonesia
Muhammad Danang Eko Yulianto, Tri Satya Mastuti Widi, Eshan Kusumawicitra, Amien Fahrianto Adi
Universitas Gadjah Mada, Dept. of Animal Production, Indonesia
As in many other developing countries, animal welfare issues are not a big topic in Indonesia. The issue is more neglected in livestock which produces foods such as beef cattle, goat, sheep and pig. It is easier to understand the level of welfare in animals which have more direct contact with humans such as companion and working animals, for example horses. This study aimed to assess the level of animal welfare of horses used for racing in Central Java, Indonesia. In the past two decades, equestrian sports such as racing and riding were getting more popular in Indonesia and resulted in an increased number of racing horses. By respecting the five freedoms of animal welfare, we assessed the welfare of 200 heads of racehorses belonging to 13 owners in Central Java. From various sources of literature and assessment of management practices on regular basis, five indicators were selected to describe the five freedoms of animal attributes. Racehorses were individually assessed using those indicators. The assessment was complemented with information on farm level such as feeding, housing and health care management, exercise, training methods, and human-animal interactions. The data were analysed descriptively. The results showed that 60.1%, 22.9% and 12.1% of racehorses had relatively good, moderate, and poor welfare, respectively. In conclusion, most horses used for racing are well handled. Welfare assessment based on objective parameters can be used as first step to improve horse welfare in Indonesia, but needs continuous improvement to improve the horses' life and the racing and equestrian sports itself.
Keywords: Five freedoms of animal, Indonesia, racehorse, welfare assessment
Contact Address: Muhammad Danang Eko Yulianto, Universitas Gadjah Mada, Dept. of Animal Production, Jalan Fauna No.3 Kampus Ugm Bulaksumur, 55281 Sleman, Indonesia, e-mail: danangyuliantougm.ac.id