Assessing the impact of housing on the welfare of horses : A Scoping Review Protocol Atoji, Katia; de Almeida Oliveira, Ana Alix Mendes; Weary, Daniel M.
Domestic horses are commonly housed in individual box stalls, often without access to paddocks or contact with other animals. This is very different from the natural environment of wild and feral horses that may roam many kilometres in a day and form complex social relationships with herd mates. A growing body of research has assessed the effects of housing on domestic horse welfare. Our aim is to review this literature, addressing four related research questions: 1) what types of variation between and within housing systems have been considered, and how might these types of variation limit comparisons between these systems, 2) what categories of horses have been studied and how the categories might limit the comparison between studies, 3) what outcome measures have been used to assess the impact of housing on the welfare, and 4) what conclusions do these studies draw about welfare in different housing conditions. We will critically discuss treatment conditions, categories studied, measures and conclusions, and identify knowledge gaps for future research. Our review will include all types of peer-reviewed articles, short reports and conference abstracts on electronic databases (Web of Science, CAB Direct, PubMed, Scopus).
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