Urgent Federal Support Needed for Canada’s Working Horses
Ottawa, ON, May 6, 2020 – Equestrian Canada (EC) would like to express its disappointment that the federal announcement on May 5, 2020, of $252M in funding for the agri-food sector did not include desperately needed support for Canada’s working horses.
Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, equine farms across Canada are currently facing unprecedented financial instability. Since all public-facing activities have stopped, many businesses are unable to pay for animal care as their incomes have largely disappeared.
EC’s recent national survey indicated there were approximately 46,500 horses and 8,500 equine facilities with less than a month of financial reserves and supplies as of April 6, 2020. Without urgent government support, many equine owners are now or will soon be facing the horrendous decision to offload perfectly healthy, capable animals into a marketplace in which supply far exceeds demand.
“Working horses are valuable, respected farm assets that require daily care and upkeep, including feeding, cleaning, movement and social connection,” said Kristy House, EC Manager of Welfare and Industry. “This level of nurturing requires animal care professionals and regular agricultural supplies, and costs upwards of $350 per horse, per month. The current relief options that are accessible to equine facilities dealing with significant lost income while supporting many horses don’t come close to being enough to properly care for the animals.”
House added, “In addition to the uncertainty of horse care, we’re facing sector classification and program eligibility challenges with the federal government. We feel strongly that an opportunity to help our working horses and equine businesses was missed by the current equestrian exclusion from the newly launched AgriRecovery fund.”
EC has requested an emergency relief fund of $11.5M to $13M to provide COVID-19 pandemic relief and ensure the health and wellbeing of Canada’s working horses. The community is doing all it can to privately raise money for businesses in the greatest need but remains fearful that if help doesn’t come soon, the sector will suffer permanent damage.
EC continues to advocate on behalf of the equine sector to the federal government and has launched a website initiative to empower the public to voice their support via direct communications to their local Member of Parliament. Visit www.equestrian.ca/industry/about/covid-19-response to learn more.
For questions, contact:
Manager of Welfare and Industry
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