Since 2008 Switzerland has initiated some of the toughest animal rights laws in the world. The government has invoked specific regulations on the equestrian community with regard to horse care and management. The guidelines are specific, perhaps even challenging, but the vast majority of folks in the horse community are in compliance. Following is an overview of a few legislative points.
All horses, ponies, donkeys and mules must be able to see, smell and hear other equids which may include cows and goats. A horse is not allowed to live alone. Young horses under 2 ½ years old must be kept in groups.
Working horses must be allowed free time in a pasture at least 2 days a week for a minimum of 2 hours. Non working horses (retired or broodmares) must have a minimum of 2 hours a day outside in a pasture. Stable managers must maintain a log to document turnout times
There are strict rules about indoor shelters for horses. A formula was created that considers the size of the horse then calculates the minimum surface area required for that horse to be properly stalled. A formula also calculates the appropriate size for turnout pastures, again size determined by the individual horse’s size.
Farriers and barefoot trimmers receive formal training and must be certified by the Swiss government to do business.
Swiss law allows someone to own up to five horses. If you want a sixth, you must attend a welfare class (paid from your own pocket) to obtain a certificate that permits additional ownership.