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Josephson, Ebba, 2020. Behovet av social kontakt hos hästar (Equus ferus caballus) : uppfyller dagens lagstiftning behovet?. First cycle, G2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Animal Environment and Health



In the literature, horses are described as social animals who live together in herds. Despite this, the most common housing system in Sweden is individual boxes. According to Swedish legislation this is legal as long as the horses have daily physical contact with at least one other horse. The county administrative board in Stockholm has questioned if horses’ social needs really are fulfilled by only getting physical contact through the box-bar or over the fence of the paddock. Therefore, the aim of this paper is to compile the research that exist on horses social needs to investigate if it corresponds with current Swedish legislation. This work was carried out as a literature study based on scientific articles.
The result of the study showed that horses have high motivation for social contact and to perform their natural social behaviours. Insufficient social contact may result in stress, stereotypic behaviours and a negative emotional condition. Housing systems where the horses have physical contact with the neighbouring horse through bars or over the fence of the paddock is better than no social contact at all, but it is not optimal. This because they are inhibited to perform social behaviours and still develop abnormal behaviours under those circumstances. Group housing, on the other hand, allow the horses to perform natural social behaviours and enables the horses to fully fulfil their social needs and thus contributes to a better welfare. Because of lack of scientific research, no conclusions can be drawn whether horses’ social needs can be fulfilled by contact with other species.
The conclusion of this study is that keeping horses together in couples or groups enables them to perform the social behaviours they are motivated to perform and provides to a better welfare. Limited social contact is better than no contact at all, but still prevents the horses to fully fulfil their social needs. Therefore, the Swedish legislation regarding social contact in horses does not meet the social needs of horses and changes should be made.

Main title:Behovet av social kontakt hos hästar (Equus ferus caballus)
Subtitle:uppfyller dagens lagstiftning behovet?
Authors:Josephson, Ebba
Supervisor:Lundqvist, Katja
Examiner:Yngvesson, Jenny
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2020
Level and depth descriptor:First cycle, G2E
Student's programme affiliation:VK005 Ethology and Animal Welfare - Bachelor's Programme, 180.0hp
Supervising department:(VH) > Dept. of Animal Environment and Health
Keywords:häst, equus ferus caballus, socialt behov, social kontakt, djurskydd, djurskyddslagstiftning, välfärd
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Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Animal husbandry
Deposited On:05 Oct 2020 10:32
Metadata Last Modified:06 Oct 2020 01:05

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