Dr Neil Hudson MP, the only veterinarian in the House of Commons, Member of the Commons Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee and respected expert in equine health, took the helm as the Chair of the World Horse Welfare Annual Conference.
Taking place on Thursday 9th November, the international conference brought together the equine community, politician and conservationists to delve into the multifaceted relationship between horses and the environment.
Titled, ‘Horses and the Environment: Friend or Foe?’ Dr Hudson brought his distinguished background in veterinary science and his animal welfare leadership in Parliament to the conference discussions. Topics discussed range from addressing the environmental impact of horse sports and looking at international charity initiatives to looking at using horses in landscape-scale conservation and increasing biodiversity in horse environments.
Reflecting on the Conference, Dr Neil Hudson MP said:
"As we navigate complex environmental challenges, it is crucial to understand the role of horses in our precious ecosystems. And what better way of getting to grips with this role than the platform for robust dialogue and exploration provided by World Horse Welfare. It was such an honour to chair this conference again in the presence of World Horse Welfare’s President and champion of the horse, HRH The Princess Royal.
"While it is critical to consider how we are impacting the environment, it is equally worthwhile to realise how much we can do to improve it while cultivating our vital relationship with horses. I was extremely heartened to hear a range of best practices being implemented internationally from Ireland to Senegal as we look to preserve our natural world alongside these noble animals.
"I thank World Horse Welfare for inviting me to chair the Conference, everyone who contributed to the incredibly high level of debate, and all attendees both virtual and physical."
With a wealth of expertise on display, other influential speakers and panellists included:
- Senator Pippa Hackett, Ireland’s Minister of State for Agriculture with responsibility for Land Use and Biodiversity.
- Ruth Dancer, Director at environmental sustainability consultancy White Griffin, which specialises in equestrianism and horse racing.
- Ruth Dancer, Director at White Griffin.
- Carol Laidlaw, a Lead Grazing Ranger working for the National Trust at one of Britain’s oldest and most bio-diverse nature reserves.
- Jenny Rogers, Manager and Trustee of Ash Rescue Centre which cares for elderly rescue horses, runs a nature conservation site and rehabilitates wildlife.
You can rewatch the Conference, in full here.