Equine stereotypic behavior as related to horse welfare: A review
Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
There are strong suggestions that equine stereotypies are being connected to poor welfare and a sub-optimal management and/or stabling environment. Until today different forms of equine stereotypic behaviors have been described. Crib-biting, weaving, and box-walking are considered the most prevalent. Several studies have been conducted to establish links between the underlying causes and potential function of such behaviors. Both experimental and epidemiological studies have indicated management factors specifically feeding practices, housing conditions, and weaning method as crucial in the development of stereotypies in stabled horses. Some neurologic studies on equine stereotypy demonstrated some forms of CNS dysfunction as the causal factor for the performance of stereotypic behaviors. Different researchers hypothesized that the functional significance of stereotypies is that they reduce stress in captive environments and should thus be considered as a coping mechanism. In contrast, the owner‟s perspective is often that a stereotypic horse has a “stable-vice” that needs to be stopped and different kinds of methods have been developed to control or regulate stereotypic behaviors. However, if the stress-reducing hypothesis is correct, controlling stereotypic behaviors particularly by physical and surgical approaches without addressing the underlying causes is of great concern to the horse‟s welfare. Although there is ongoing uncertainty about the exact function, the growing knowledge about causation should be applied: under all circumstances prevention is better than cure.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. , 27 p.
Horse, stereotypy, behavior, welfare
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-77944ISRN: LiTH-IFM- Ex--12/2649--SEOAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-77944DiVA: diva2:530082
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
Subject / course
UppsokAgriculture, Veterinary Medicine, Forestry
Blokhuis, Harry, Professor
Laska, Matthias, Professor