...my treasures do not sparkle they clink,
they shine in the sun and neigh in the night...



CONI, Ministry of Health and FISE: equine welfare initiative


(9 March 2015)

On Friday 6 March IHP attended a conference in Rome, organised by CONI, entitled “Principles of horse welfare and management”, which presented a publication endorsed by CONI, the Ministry of Health, the Italian Paralympic Committee and the Italian Equestrian Sports Federation (FISE). This is a sort of manual, which covers the Code for the welfare and management of equids, the FISE regulation on the welfare of sport horses, and the law against mistreatment (189/2004).

Speakers included Giovanni Malagò, President of CONI; the Hon. Vito De Filippo, Undersecretary of State for Health; Franco Chimenti, president of CONI Servizi; Luca Pancalli, president of the Italian Paralympic Committee; Gianfranco Ravà, acting president of FISE, and the well-known lyricist and writer Mogol. All interventions were concerned with the concept of the horse as sentient being, and as such having as much right to respect and good treatment as human beings. This guide therefore aims to increase general knowledge about the horse, its needs and natural behaviour, thereby illustrating an appropriate relationship with, and management of, equines.

A striking quote from Giovanni Malagò: “I do not ride and I have no particular interest in equitation above any other sport. However, I like horses - they fascinate me. I find certain rules shouldn’t even need to be written down, certain ways of treating horses shouldn’t need even to be set out as rules: it is self-evident that a horse should be treated with respect for his dignity, as should a human being. But if this is necessary in order to create an enlightened relationship between man and animal, then I welcome this publication, and we will always be in the front line against bad practice and violence”.

Malagò took the opportunity to clarify what had happened within FISE; today he completes his temporary presidency of this federation, and a new president is shortly to be elected. He explained: “For three years the FISE annual accounts have not been approved, and it has had a record breaking budget deficit in the history of CONI’s 100 years. In essence it was bankrupt. We have put it back on its feet in an operation no other sporting federation has ever seen. From now on, if FISE is not able to stand on its own two feet then for sure it will get no further assistance from CONI”.

Eleonora Di Giuseppe, coordinator of the publication and conference moderator, spoke in her concluding speech about the animal welfare associations and their important role in stimulating change; she publicly thanked the Italian Horse Protection Association for its dedicated and competent commitment.

President of IHP Sonny Richichi was present at the conference and commented: “The presentation of this new publication should be hailed as a step forward and an act of goodwill on the part of institutions and bodies whose decisions have an enormous impact on equine welfare. We look forward to further steps in the immediate future: above all the involvement of IHP in the drafting of new publications, which we feel up to now leave a rather wide margin for improvement in what regards the needs of horses. We trust too that the proposed welfare measures are effective, being enforced by a national law which itself is in urgent need of revision, starting with a ban on slaughter, and with the equine register. Pending these considerations, which need time, we have asked the Undersecretary of State for Health to put the animal welfare task force into practice: this could be an immediate step and would straightaway give a very positive response to the many cases of real mistreatment which are frequently dismissed because of the all too common incompetence and poor coordination of the relevant authorities”.