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Equine Welfare

Date(s) - May 7, 2018 - July 29, 2018
This is an online course


Equine Welfare, horses grazing in a fieldThe greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated” ~Gandhi (1869-1948)

The Equine Welfare course explores controversial and sensitive issues surrounding the use of horses. It will enable all those with an interest in horses to gain an awareness of the specific human uses of horses and the welfare problems and abuses that can sometimes occur as a result. Students will study reliable scientific research and evidence-based information to support an informed debate. The course will draw on the expertise of leaders in equine health and welfare science introducing concepts and definitions of animal welfare. Students will discuss how to recognize negative emotional states, how welfare can be objectively assessed in the horse, and specific practices which may compromise horse welfare.

Equine Welfare is intended to stimulate thought and discussion in the equine industry.

Learning OutcomesEvaluationInstructorRegistration

The goal of this course is to enable you to understand important concepts about horse welfare and to learn how to apply this knowledge in the industry. By the end of the course you should be able to:

  • Discuss the history and schools of thought on animal welfare
  • Describe the various scientific approaches to defining and assessing animal welfare
  • Examine how animal welfare is measured from animal-based, management-based and environment-based perspectives
  • Interpret and critically evaluate horse literature and case studies from a welfare perspective
  • Make objective and evidence based judgments on horse welfare
  • Give examples of horse behaviour and anatomy specific practices and procedures that can compromise horse welfare

Participation (15%): During the course you will be presented with discussion questions. Your grade is based on your participation in the discussions in response to questions, research and evidence presented to support your thoughts and reflection on the information provided by other student postings.

Quizzes (10%): There will be four online quizzes. Each quiz consists of a number of true or false statements and multiple-choice questions which cover the weekly unit material.

Minor Assignment: Research Discussion (30%): This assignment will require you to research a specific welfare topic,  lead a discussion with your discussion group and submit a summary essay.

Major Assignment: Research Paper (45%): This assignment will require you to conduct in-depth research and analysis into an equine welfare issue of your choice which is affecting the industry today. You will write a 750 – 1000 word essay.

Instructor: Cordy DuBois

Cordy DuBois began her academic career at York University, where she graduated First Class with a specialized Honours degree in Conservation Ecology. Despite her interest in migratory songbirds, the subject of her undergraduate thesis, she took a “year off” to return to the study of her favourite childhood animal, completing an Equine Studies Diploma with Distinction from Equine Guelph in the Fall of 2012. It was here that her passion for science and horses converged and encouraged her to pursue a Master’s Degree in Animal and Poultry Science from the University of Guelph with Dr. Katrina Merkies.

During her Master’s degree she validated two measures used to evaluate a horse’s well-being, examining lying behaviour with the use of automated recording devices and measuring fecal cortisol metabolites using an enzyme immunoassay. During these projects she gained valuable experience both in the laboratory and the field, collecting samples as well as observing and recording behaviours. The Master’s by coursework also exposed her to the process of assessing animal welfare, as well as highlighted the lack of research in the equine sector (especially when compared to other large animal species). It was with this in mind that, after completing her Master’s degree, she went straight into the PhD program, with a project that focused on gaining insight into the perception of welfare issues in the Canadian equine industry, as well as designing an assessment tool based on the recently revised National Farm Animal Care Council’s Code of Practice for the Care and Handling of Equines and the most up-to-date scientific literature. Over the course of her PhD she has surveyed industry participants and industry professionals alike, hoping to gain a better understanding of equine issues as perceived by those who live and work within the industry. Now, in the second phase of her project, she looks to pilot test the assessment tool she’s created – and its accompanying training program – to understand how best to approach the evaluation of equine welfare in Canada.

Cordy has traveled both out of province and out of country to learn the necessary techniques to effectively and objectively assess animals and audit facilities. Though she did not complete the shadow auditing which would have granted her full certification from the Professional Animal Auditor Certification Organization, she attended their immersive three-day course in Alberta where she was taught by experts how to audit slaughter plants to ensure proper facility design and handling of animals. She also graduated from Colorado State University and Code 3 Associates’ Equine Investigations Academy Level 1, a program designed for animal investigators to help them conduct better cruelty investigations.

Outside of her academic life, she has over ten years of experience as a stable hand, working both in the riding school sector and on a private horse farm owned by a Woodbine Racetrack trainer. As she is not a rider, she has spent the majority of her time dealing with and managing horses on the ground, and brings with her a different kind of appreciation for the handling and restraint techniques (and their associated consequences) readily used by industry members. Cordy is greatly looking forward to the opportunity to be a part of the online Equine Guelph teaching program!

This course is offered next in the Summer 2017 Semester.

Classes begin Monday, May 8, 2017 and end Sunday, July 30, 2017

Register by the Early-Bird deadline of Friday, April 7, 2017 and pay $549.00 (Cdn)

Regular Registration fee $625.00 (Cdn)

Registration is limited to 45 students

This course is 12 weeks in length.

Registration fees are in Canadian Dollars. There are no additional international student fees and we welcome students from across the world.

You will find the registration page at our new OpenEd Student Portal – register for the Equine Welfare course.

Ready to Register?

You will find the registration page at our new OpenEd Student Portal – register for the Equine Welfare course.

Equine Welfare can be taken as an single course or as a required course in the Equine Welfare Certificate.

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