Conceptions of Equine Welfare in Finnish Horse Magazines

In: Society & Animals
Nora Schuurman University of Eastern Finland, School of Humanities, Karelian Institute Finland

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Keeping equines for leisure purposes has become increasingly popular. Along with the wider concern for animal welfare, the question of equine welfare has attracted increasing attention. The purpose of this article is to ask what is understood by equine welfare and how it is perceived in contemporary Finnish equine industry and culture. The main focus is on the conceptions of equine welfare used in justifying certain practices in caring for or handling horses. The data consist of articles from a Finnish horse magazine published in the year 2008. According to the data, conceptions of equine welfare within the equine industry and culture are somewhat contradictory. The contradictions appear between the uses of the animal for various types of work and the risks inherent in the work itself, and in the role of nature either in promoting equine welfare or as a risk for the animal’s health. The various conceptions of equine welfare are united by an empathetic tendency to interpret and understand the horse as a sentient and, often, an intentional subject.

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