SHOW HORSE WELFARE Dissertation Presentation In Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy at Purdue University By Melissa Voigt PRESENTATION OVERVIEW Introduction Study 1: Viewpoint of Show Officials Study 2: Competitors Understanding, Awareness, and Perceptions of Equine Welfare Study 3: Understanding and Addressing Stock-Type Show Horse Industry Legitimacy A Model for Understanding and Influencing Behaviors toward Show Horses Concluding Thoughts and Questions
INTRODUCTION BACKGROUND AND SETTING Increased public attention to compromises of show horses well-being increased pressure for horse industry to address issues. (Horses for Life, 2012; Horsetalk.co.nz, 2012; HSUS, 2012; Meyer, 2014; PETA, 2014; Van Tassell, 2012) Organizations have developed guidelines and taken proactive measures to address and hopefully reduce the occurrence of compromises to horse welfare. (American Horse Council, 2012; AQHA: Animal Welfare Commission, 2012; FAWC, 2009; FEI, 2012) Examples: American Horse Councils Welfare Code of Practice
(American Horse Council, 2012) Federation Equestre Internationales Code of Conduct for the Welfare of the Horse (FEI, 2012) AQHA Animal Welfare Commission (AQHA: Animal Welfare Commission, 2012) AQHA, NRHA, and USEF Steward Programs (NRHA, 2012; Treadway, 2010; USEF, 2012) SIGNIFICANCE OF STUDY Youre around it so much... You dont really think about it. You dont really think about what its doing to the animal ~ Trainer convicted under the Horse Protection Act for soring (HSUS, 2012) This statement: 1. Demonstrates complete lack of empathy for the animals under his care. 2. Sheds light on the reasoning for such behavior moral disengagement.
Though standards for treating competition horses humanely are known, they continue to face inhumane treatment at times. Implications for the need to better understand how best to reduce incidents of inhumane treatment toward show horses and address concerns related the horse industrys ability to self-regulate. PURPOSE OF RESEARCH The purpose of this research was to: 1. Understand the state of welfare of stock type show horses through the perspective of those directly involved. 2. Identify the level of understanding of welfare, the value placed on welfare, and ethical and moral decisions that impact the welfare of stock type show horses. 3. Inform the design of educational resources that aim to create awareness and reduce compromises to stock type show horse welfare. Research was conducted through three sequential studies:
Study 1: Viewpoint of Show Officials Study 2: Competitors Understanding, Awareness, and Perceptions of Equine Welfare Study 3: Understanding and Addressing Stock-Type Show Horse Industry Legitimacy GUIDING FRAMEWORK SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORY (BANDURA, 1977) Continuous interactions among cognitive, behavioral, and environmental factors. Interactions provide the premise for understanding how social and environmental factors can influence the attitudes and behaviors of an individual or a group/community. Conceptual integration of attitudes toward animals being influenced by individual differences and moral convictions with human behavior.
GUIDING FRAMEWORK MORAL DISENGAGEMENT (BANDURA, 1990; 1999) PROCESS OF MORAL DISENGAGEMENT MECHANISMS OF MORAL DISENGAGEMENT AND ANTICIPATED HARM GUIDING FRAMEWORK SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORY & MORAL DISENGAGEMENT Foundation for understanding humans and social and environmental factors that influence their behavior. (McAlister, Perry, & Parcel, 2008)
Provide greater clarity for understanding why individuals compromise horse welfare, and thus inform decisions on how best to deter the occurrence of harmful and injurious practices and encourage practices focusing on the welfare of the horse. Provide a better understanding of what influences an individuals perception of certain practices to be harmful or not to horse welfare. STUDY 1: VIEWPOINT OF SHOW OFFICIALS PURPOSE AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of horse show officials views on compromises to horse welfare. This study was guided by the following research questions: 1. What practices do judges, stewards, and show managers of stock type horse
shows observe and believe to be most detrimental to the welfare of the stock type show horse? 2. Who do judges, stewards, and show managers of stock type horse shows observe compromising stock type show horse welfare? 3. What do judges, stewards, and show managers of stock type horse shows believe is the best approach to effectively prevent compromises to stock type show horse welfare? METHODS Participants: Randomly selected stock-type horse show officials (judges, stewards, and show managers) from the Midwestern Region of the U.S. Contact and Recruitment: Facilitated through email following Dillmans (2007) tailored design method. Data Collection and Analysis:
Phone interviews with standardized open-ended and probing questions. Interviews were conducted until saturation of data and stop criteria of three interviews was met. Coding procedures of Corbin and Strauss (1990) were used the analyze data. RESULTS - PARTICIPANTS 13 horse show officials were interviewed. A total of 35 individuals were contacted; 2 stated they were not interested in participating and 20 did not respond. Interviews time range: 15 to 60 minutes; most 20 to 30 minutes in length. Description of Participants: Combination and singular roles as officials. 3 to 40 years of experience. Level of experience ranged from local to international shows. Variety of breed affiliation with most common being AQHA (n=6), NSBA (n=4), 4H (n=4), and APHA (n=3).
RESULTS - THEMES 1. Defining Welfare 2. Compromises to Show Horse Welfare 3. Responsibility of Addressing the Issue 4. Value of Education 5. Industry Progress RESULTS - THEME 1 DEFINING WELFARE The stock-type horse show officials emphasized physical aspects of horse welfare, and alluded to behavioral and mental aspects of welfare through the progression of the interviews.
RESULTS - THEME 2 COMPROMISES TO SHOW HORSE WELFARE The stock-type horse show officials identified specific compromises to show horse welfare which were thought to be related to: 1. Public Perception and Understanding: The stock-type horse show officials believed that some horse training practices at shows are misperceived by the public as harmful to the horse, however, they admitted that there are bad actors in the stock-type show horse industry that deliberately harm horses which portrays a negative image of the industry to the public. RESULTS - THEME 2 COMPROMISES TO SHOW HORSE WELFARE, continued
The stock-type horse show officials identified specific compromises to show horse welfare which were thought to be related to: 2. Lack of Experience or Expertise: The stock-type horse show officials attributed some compromises of show horse welfare to individuals not having the needed training, skills, or knowledge to safely and appropriately care for, handle or train the horse. RESULTS - THEME 2 COMPROMISES TO SHOW HORSE WELFARE, continued The stock-type horse show officials identified specific compromises to show horse welfare which were thought to be related to: 3. Unreasonable Expectations:
The stock-type horse show officials attributed some compromises of show horse welfare to professional trainers who attempt to achieve a level of performance beyond the horses ability, and are motivated by financial compensation from horse owners and business pressures. RESULTS - THEME 2 COMPROMISES TO SHOW HORSE WELFARE, continued The stock-type horse show officials identified specific compromises to show horse welfare which were thought to be related to: 4. Prioritization of Winning: The stock-type horse show officials attributed some compromises of show horse welfare to show competitors desire to win as being a higher priority, momentarily and over the long term, than the
well-being of the horse. RESULTS - THEME 3 RESPONSIBILITY OF ADDRESSING THE ISSUE The stock-type horse show officials believed that every individual in the stock-type show horse industry has a role and responsibility to address issues related to the welfare of horses. RESULTS - THEME 4 VALUE OF EDUCATION The stock-type horse show officials emphasized the need for ongoing educational opportunities and mentoring relationships to reduce the occurrence of compromises to show
horse welfare. RESULTS - THEME 5 INDUSTRY PROGRESS The stock-type horse show officials believed that despite progress in the care and treatment of show horses, there should be continual efforts throughout the stock-type show horse industry to improve the well-being of the horse. STUDY 2: COMPETITORS UNDERSTANDING, AWARENESS, AND PERCEPTIONS OF EQUINE WELFARE
PURPOSE AND RESEARCH QUESTIONS The purpose of this descriptive study was to gain a better understanding of: 1. Stock-type horse show competitors understanding of welfare and level of concern for stock-type show horses welfare. 2. Empathic traits relate to the perception of understanding of horse welfare. The following research questions guided this study: 1. What are show competitors level of interest and understanding of show horse welfare? 2. How does the level of show competitor empathy relate to the understanding of show horse welfare? 3. What horse show disciplines do show competitors perceive to be the most concerning regarding the welfare of the horse? 4. What inhumane practices do show competitors perceive to occur most frequently at shows? 5. What influences show competitors decisions related to their show horse?
METHODS Participants: Exhibitors of stock-type horse shows within the United States which included stocktype breed shows, open shows, and reining competitions. Contact and Recruitment: Facilitated through tailored design method (Dillman, 2011) adapted for social media. Data Collection and Analysis: A questionnaire was developed based on findings from the previous study and relevant literature. It was administered using Qualtrics. A link to the questionnaire was disseminated through Facebook with recruitment content. The questionnaire was validated by content experts and pilot-tested. Primary statistical analysis included reporting of frequencies, valid percentages, and correlations. METHODS, CONTINUED
Data Collection and Analysis, continued: Questionnaire included nine sections: 1. Demographics 2. Interest and general understanding of horse welfare 3. Welfare concerns in the show industry and the stock-type show industry 4. Perception of management and training practices that impact horse welfare 5. Decision-making influences 6. Learner analysis 7. Level of empathic characteristics 8. Locus of control 9. Comments RESULTS PARTICIPANTS 779 respondents met the criteria of being an exhibitor at stock-type horse shows and lived in the United States.
92.5% were female. Over 61.6% were under the age of 46*. 63.2% grew up on a farm or in an agricultural setting. 70.1% of respondents indicating some college or completion of a 2-year or bachelors degree. 71.1% of respondents indicated that they had been an exhibitor for more than ten years. 54.2% attended three to ten shows a year. Most popular classes were halter, showmanship at halter, hunter under saddle, trail, western horsemanship, and western pleasure. RESULTS RESEARCH QUESTION 1 WELFARE: INTEREST AND UNDERSTANDING High level of interest about the topic of show horse care and treatment. Table 1. Interest in show horse care and
treatment (N=779) Not At All Interested Slightly Interested Moderately Interested Very Interested Extremely Interested Missing f 1 27 106 315 292 38
% 0.1 3.6 14.3 42.5 39.4 - RESULTS RESEARCH QUESTION 1 WELFARE: INTEREST AND UNDERSTANDING, CONTINUED High level of agreement (94.8) that physical metrics should be a factor when assessing welfare. Comparatively, 84.4% agreed or strongly agreed that mental metrics should be a factor and 73.8% agreed or strongly agreed that behavioral metrics should be a factor.
Table 2. Degree of agreement that physical, mental, and behavioral metrics should be a factor used in the assessment of welfare (N=779) Disease, lameness, body condition score, etc. f % Emotional states, mental states, etc. f % Expression of natural behaviors
f % Strongly Disagree 12 1.6 12 1.6 15
2.0 Disagree 0 0.0 5 0.7 9 1.2
Somewhat Disagree 2 0.3 14 1.9 33 4.4
Somewhat Agree 25 3.3 86 11.5 139 18.5 Agree
171 22.8 247 33.0 274 36.5 Strongly Agree
541 72.0 385 51.4 280 37.3 Missing 28
- 30 - 29 - RESULTS RESEARCH QUESTION 2 WELFARE: EMPATHY AND UNDERSTANDING The empathy levels of the majority of
the respondents were moderate to high. There was no significant correlation found between empathy and interest in the topic of show horse care and treatment. Regarding the metrics for assessment of horse welfare there were significant correlations between empathy and mental metrics, and between empathy and behavioral metrics. No correlation was found between empathy and physical metrics. Table 3. Pearsons correlation between empathy score
level and interest in horse care and treatment, and factors for assessing welfare How interested are you in the topic of show horse care and treatment? Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N .071 .103 Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N
Emotional states, mental states, etc. Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N Expression of natural behaviors. Pearson Correlation Sig. (2-tailed) N * Correlation is significant at the 0.05 level (2-tailed). ** Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed). .061 .158 538 .088* .043
536 .119** .006 537 The assessment of a horse's welfare should include factors such as... Disease, lameness, body condition score, etc. 531 RESULTS RESEARCH QUESTIONS 3-5 WELFARE CONCERNS
RESEARCH QUESTION 3 44.3% were very to extremely concerned with the welfare of horses shown in stocktype breed shows. Greatest concern was for the saddle-type sector. RESEARCH QUESTION 4 Specific practices indicated as most commonly occurring of included excessive jerking on the reins, excessive spurring, induced excessive unnatural movement, excessively repetitious aid or practice, and excessive continued pressure on the bit. RESEARCH QUESTION 5 Most influential factors included association rules, hired trainers, and hired riding instructors. STUDY 3: UNDERSTANDING AND ADDRESSING STOCKTYPE SHOW HORSE INDUSTRY LEGITIMACY
PURPOSE AND OBJECTIVES The purpose of this case study was to use the Social Cognitive Theory and the moral disengagement framework to emphasize the need for leading stock-type horse associations to minimize potential and actual threats to their legitimacy in an effort to maintain and strengthen self-regulating governance. Case study objectives: 1. Provide a theoretical explanation for why individuals choose to participate in inhumane behavior toward horses. 2. Identify the written rules and values of leading stock-type associations as it relates to inhumane treatment of horses. 3. Evaluate examples of incidents of inhumane treatment and responses of leading stock-type associations. 4. Provide recommendations for stock-type show horse industry associations to deter incidents of inhumane treatment based on theoretical foundations for understanding inhumane
behavior towards horses and evaluation of responses to incidents of inhumane treatment. OBJECTIVE 1 THEORETICAL EXPLANATION COGNITIVE FACTORS Understanding Horse Welfare Attitude Toward Horses Individual Differences ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS Rules and Regulations Social Norms BEHAVIORAL FACTORS Reinforcement from Success
Reinforcement-Punishment Pendulum SOCIAL COGNITIVE THEORY OBJECTIVE 2 WRITTEN RULES AND VALUES Collectively associations promote a strong commitment to ensure stock-type show horses are treated humanely. Rules state any reports of mistreatment of a horse will be taken seriously, investigated, and the appropriate disciplinary action will be taken. The definition of inhumane treatment is subjectively stated and open to varying interpretations. For example, what constitutes an educated or experienced [person] in accepted equine training techniques (AQHA, 2014a, Rule VIO201).
OBJECTIVE 3 EVALUATION OF EXAMPLE INCIDENTS SELECTION CRITERIA: Legitimacy of the industrys actions is socially constructed (Boyd, 2000), thus information about selected cases and industrys response were easily and publicly accessible. SELECTED CASES: 1. Smith (World Champion) - Severe / Extreme Case of Excessive Spurring, 2012 Key findings: 1) Felony case submitted, 2) Prior accusations, 3) Temp. suspension 2. Thomas (AQHA Professional Horseman) - Severe Case of Excessive Spurring, 2008 Key findings: 1) No formal charges, 2) 1-year suspension served, 3) Subsequent accusation 2013 4-year suspension, reinstated after 1 year
3. Brown (NRHA Professional) - Moderate Case of Excessive Spurring, 2013 Key findings: 1) Plead guilty, 2) Prior accusations, 3) Temp. suspension OBJECTIVE 3 EVALUATION OF EXAMPLE INCIDENTS Association responses appear to be subjective and lack clear reasoning. Determination of the severity of inhumane treatment and profile of the accused seemingly may influence the actions taken: More severe, high profile cases eliciting disciplinary action compared to widespread, mild cases of inhumane treatment Location of the reported inhumane treatment influences the instatement of disciplinary action. Length of suspension is reflective of the severity of the inhumane treatment; however, there is lack of clear reasoning why reinstatement may occur early.
Overall, responses to inhumane treatment seemingly focuses on severe, high profile instances and lacks consistency in promptness and sustainment of disciplinary actions needed to ensure legitimacy. OBJECTIVE 4 RECOMMENDATIONS 1. Work together to develop a commonly understood and accepted definition of not only inhumane treatment, but also practices that are considered inhumane. 2. Enforce inhumane treatment rule violations regardless of severity, and also communicate their enforcement efforts publicly with their stakeholders. 3. Increase efforts to educate stakeholders on the reasons why certain training techniques or methods are inhumane and harmful to the horse. 4. All actions taken should be proactively focused on shaping future behaviors. 5. Examine cases of inhumane treatment in-depth.
A MODEL FOR UNDERSTANDING AND INFLUENCING BEHAVIORS TOWARD SHOW HORSES 1. Responsibility 1. Collaborate 2. Educate 1. Address Concerns 2. Practical Care 3. Consistency
2. Be a Resource 3. Vigilant 4. Sound and Ethical 3. Work Together 4. Be a Steward 5. Proactive 4. Influence
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS The welfare of show horses and horses in general will always be a concern and at the forefront of industry discussions. This research and the model presented are only the start of understanding peoples behavior toward horses. QUESTIONS???
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