Experts warn of depression in horses: ‘It’s sad, depressed, even’ | Binnenland

A horse that lives alone becomes sad and even depressed. Some animal welfare experts caution against this. Social contact is more important to a horse than many people think.

In the Mediahuis newspapers, several animal welfare experts discuss bans on keeping horses isolated from their peers, as in Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. “This is where we have to go,” says Gert van Horek, a professor of environmental law at Ghent University who specializes in animals and law. “A horse is a herd animal. It is certainly sad when it is all alone in a meadow, without smelling contact in the least. It is time for the government to develop guidelines on this.”

“Horses are very social animals,” says Michelle Vandenbosch of the animal rights organization GAIA. “It’s better to keep them together – two at least.” This is also the response of Marina Tondelaire of The Old Horses Lodge, which takes in horses that have been abused or fed. “Horses have to have at least an olfactory contact is mandatory. Because a horse alone is by definition an unhappy horse.”

“Social contact is more important to a horse than many people think,” says Mathilde van Derendonk, professor of ethology and animal welfare expert at the Universities of Antwerp and Ghent. “The horse alone has a problem. It’s sad. Depressed, even,” van derendonk adds. “Fortunately, we are becoming more and more aware that it is essential for the health of horses to have peers nearby. At least within sight, with noses touching, and preferably together.”

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Denton Watson

"Friend of animals everywhere. Evil twitter fan. Pop culture evangelist. Introvert."

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