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Posted by Christine Armishaw on 25/11/2020.

FEI Bans Horse Whisker Trimming from 2021

At the 2020 General Assembly held this week, a new rule that prohibits the clipping/shaving of sensory hairs was passed as part of the veterinary regulations.

The Veterinary Committee believes that the horse’s sensory hairs must not be trimmed or removed as it reduces the horse’s sensory ability.

Voted through unanimously, the rule states that horses are not permitted to compete in FEI events “if the horse’s sensory hairs have been clipped and/or shaven or in any other way removed unless individual sensory hairs have been removed by a veterinarian to prevent pain or discomfort for the horse.”

The change will align with legislation in a number of National Federations, where trimming or removal of sensory hairs is already forbidden and in some cases carries a heavy sanction.

France, Germany and Switzerland are among the nations where whisker and or ear hair removal is banned to some degree, in some cases it is written into animal welfare law and in others, the removal of specified vibrissae is not permitted for horses competing under sporting federation rules.

The rule comes into effect from 1 July 2021.

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