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Global Ban on the removal of Sensory Whiskers (Vibrissae) from horses on welfare grounds

Dear Fellow Equestrian

Global Ban on the removal of Sensory Whiskers (Vibrissae) from horses on welfare grounds

At the recent FEI General Assembly meeting, the National Federations voted overwhelmingly in favour of banning the clipping of the Sensory Whiskers (Vibrissae) around the muzzle and eyes, on welfare grounds.

This ban will come into effect from July 2021. The public support of the FEI Ban is unequivocal across all disciplines, countries, and cultures.

The World Bitless Association (WBA) is thrilled that the FEI has followed in the steps of the WBA campaign #HandsOFFWhiskers which included documentation of scientific evidence and information.

According to scientific evidence, vibrissae
• have blood-filled sinus tissues and are connected to the somatosensory cortex
• play an important part in the processing of sensory information
• functions include finding food, communication through facial expressions, social interactions etc.,
• have also been found to compensate for the lack of/ compromised vision
To see more detailed evidence and information please visit :…/vibrissae-hands…/

WBA requests that your organisation reviews its welfare policy and follows the lead of the FEI, to implement a ban on the removal of sensory hair. Horses rely on the sensory whiskers to help navigate their world and environment, removal for cosmetic reasons can no longer be accepted.
Horses are not allowed to compete in any FEI competitions internationally 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.” However, trimming for veterinary reasons is exempt from this ruling.

FEI GA November 2020

The global support for this ban proves that equestrians align to the science and care about the welfare of their horses. Equestrians want to see equestrian organisations make progressive welfare changes that help to improve the lives of equines.
Yours sincerely
Maja Bagdziun
Hands Off Whiskers Campaign Manager
World Bitless Association
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