Equine Expert Discusses Pandemic’s Effects on Industry

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Prof. Katrina Merkies

Many Canadians who own businesses in the equine industry say they are struggling to pay their bills and keep their horses fed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The University of Guelph has an expert who can offer comment.

Prof. Katrina Merkies, Department of Animal Biosciences, specializes in equine behaviour and welfare as well as management and equitation science. She is a core faculty member of the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare

According to a recent survey of more than 600 equestrian businesses in Canada, more than half say they have less than one month’s of feed for their horses and insufficient financial reserves to weather another month without income.

Merkies recently spoke to CBC Ottawa about the problem and noted that many equine-focused enterprises are considered non-essential businesses and are not eligible for government incentives for farmers.

She said the biggest concern is that some horse owners may be forced to sell their animals for slaughter.

“And it would be a very sad thing to see a lot of horses entering that pipeline,” she said.

Merkies  is available for interviews.

Contact:

Prof. Katrina Merkies
kmerkies@uoguelph.ca