EQUINE NEWS

Can we drive horses mad?May 2005

Dr. Daniel Mills, a Specialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine, thinks we can and do, when we stable horses for hours every day.

A seminar entitled "Can we drive horses mad? Behaviour and stress in the stabled horse", reviewed the knowledge gained through research about some of the common stereotypies found in stabled horses.

Dr. Mills, BVSc, PhD, ILTM, Cbiol, MIBiol, MRCVS, is a professor at University of Lincoln, UK, where he leads the Animal behaviour, Cognition, and Welfare group, acts as Director of University of Lincoln Animal Behaviour Referral Clinic and Advisor for the Royal College of veterinary Surgeons Certificate/Diploma in Animal Welfare, Ethics and Law.

Dr. Mills has been interested in the behaviour and welfare of the horse as he sees "owners who love their horses but with unhappy horses". He stressed there is a great need for education of the owners. If owners can understand the factors that cause stress in the horse, then many of the behaviour problems could be reduced or eliminated.

Professor Mills has written extensive publications on a range of domestic and exotic animals.  Among his recognised practical achievements he has developed the Lincoln stable mirror to assist horses with isolation problems and successfully used animal pheromones to control badly behaved pets. Dr Mills provides consultancy to a range of organisations in the animal care and science industries and co-ordinates independent trials of potential new products in addition to developing his own initiatives, which focus on improving behaviour without compromising welfare. He lectures internationally on companion animal behavioural medicine, is principal author of the text Equine Behaviour, Principles and Practice and is co-editor of the BSAVA Manual of Canine and Feline Behavioural Medicine.

The Centre for Animal Welfare and Equine Guelph presented the seminar on equine behaviour at the University of Guelph on May 16th, 2005 and invited members of the horse industry to attend.  Participants had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Mills at the reception held following the seminar.