NEF20 to explore importance of behaviour change

The outline programme for the 28th National Equine Forum has been confirmed. This annual event will be held in London on Thursday 5th March 2020 and will cover a breadth of important global and national topics related to the equine sector. A key element of the programme will explore the impact of human behavioural science on horse care and welfare.

The National Equine Forum provides a dynamic platform for government officials, vets and equestrian industry leaders to share their knowledge and inspire debate with representatives from all areas of the UK’s equine sector. Audience members can participate during Q&A segments at the end of some presentations and those watching the live stream can submit questions during the Forum via social media channels. Questions for specific presentations can also be sent in advance, from Monday 2nd March, via a web-based Q&A platform.

The 2020 programme is pertinent to anyone with an interest in horses. The human behavioural science session introduced by a member of The Behavioural Insights Team will look at how human behaviour change can make a difference to equine welfare. David Rendle council member of the British Equine Veterinary Association and Equine Internal Medicine Specialist will discuss behaviour change and its potential impact on worming compliance. Sarah Freeman, Professor of Veterinary Surgery at the University of Nottingham will talk about colic and Abigail Turnbull of Richmond Equestrian Centre will speak about strangles.

“Changing human behaviour offers the key to improving equine welfare in the UK,” explains David Rendle. “Veterinary surgeons understand the medical needs of their patients but have insufficient understanding of the drivers of human behaviours which are frequently implicated in equine health and disease. They also lack the right tools with which to implement human behaviour change.

Looking specifically at the responsible use of anthelmintics, will owners with an emotional connection to an individual ever put the interests of the equine population first? Will striving for behaviour change ever be sufficient in this scenario or does change need to be enforced to put animal welfare ahead of human sentiment?”

A Defra Minister, the UK’s chief veterinary officer, and a leading equine epidemiologist will, together, present a comprehensive session on Brexit, animal health, emerging disease and what we have learnt from the 2019 flu outbreak. The audience will have the opportunity to put questions to the panel at the end of the presentations.

Global issues will be covered including the escalating horrors of the donkey skin trade and social acceptance of the use of horses in sport.

With 2020 being an Olympic year the equestrian elements of Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games will be discussed by Tim Hadaway, Director for Games Operations, FEI, followed by an enlightening talk from Henry Bullen of Peden Bloodstock, about travelling horses internationally.

“I’m delighted to have this opportunity, on behalf of the FEI, to update the British equestrian community on preparations for the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo next summer,” said Tim Hadaway. “Safeguarding horse and athlete welfare, and optimising their performance in what we know will be a challenging climate, are top priorities for everyone in the community, and I also look forward to briefing the National Equine Forum on all the measures that have been put in place for Tokyo 2020.”

Kirsty Withnall, RSPCA Inspector for the RSPCA’s Special Operations Unit, will present the Memorial Lecture on the collaborative work of the UK’s equine welfare charities in large scale rescue operations. These lectures are given each year and link to past winners of the Sir Colin Spedding Award; Martin Clunes received the Award in 2013 on behalf of collective UK equine welfare charities.

The winner of the Sir Colin Spedding Award will be announced, and the award presented. This award was established in 2013 in recognition of the late Professor Sir Colin Spedding’s services to the equine sector – most especially founding the National Equine Forum and Chairing it for 19 years.

A limited number of tickets are available for the Forum. To apply or to find out how you could enjoy the privilege of becoming a sponsor or corporate friend of the Forum, please contact us.

You don’t have to miss out if you are unable to purchase a ticket as you can watch the FREE live streaming on the NEF website and you can also submit questions via the NEF’s online Q&A platform.

Further details on the NEF 2020 programme will be released in the New Year. For information please see the Get Involved page here, and the Past Forums page here.

Picture courtesy of Craig Payne Photography