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Pro-Environmental Transformation of the Equine Sector-Facilitators and Challenges
Malmö University, Faculty of Education and Society (LS), Department of Sport Sciences (IDV).ORCID iD: 0000-0002-4802-9932
Norwegian Sch Sport Sci, Dept Teacher Educ & Outdoor Studies, N-0863 Oslo, Norway..
Malmö University, Faculty of Education and Society (LS), Department of Sport Sciences (IDV). Norwegian Sch Sport Sci, Dept Teacher Educ & Outdoor Studies, N-0863 Oslo, Norway..ORCID iD: 0009-0006-5969-2445
Norwegian Sch Sport Sci, Dept Teacher Educ & Outdoor Studies, N-0863 Oslo, Norway..
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2024 (English)In: Animals, E-ISSN 2076-2615, Vol. 14, no 6, article id 915Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Simple Summary

To improve horse welfare and ensure a sustainable equestrian future, we need to understand human behavior in relation to the challenges of the sector. This article maps and analyzes how individuals within the equine sector in Sweden and Norway define environmental challenges. An analysis based on a model for behavior change (the COM-B model) shows that there is a capacity for change, and that skills and knowledge exist, but that some individuals desire more information and a deeper understanding of the issues at hand. Physical constraints such as location, resources, and time seem challenging for individual actors to influence. Economic factors are also identified as impediments to transformation. Cultural norms related to orderliness within stables, although not directly addressing ecological challenges, might serve as a foundation for promoting environmental initiatives that will also improve horse welfare.

Abstract

To improve horse welfare and ensure a sustainable equestrian future, we need to understand human behavior in relation to the challenges of the sector. The purpose of this paper is to map and analyze how individuals within the equine sector in Sweden and Norway define the environmental challenges they are faced with and how these are related to questions about horse welfare. A mixed-methods parallel design was used. The data consist of survey answers and semi-structured interviews. The survey, responded to by 697 Swedish and Norwegian participants, ensured statistical validity and power through a sample size calculation yielding approximately 385 participants. To deepen the understanding, 36 semi structured interviews with Swedish and Norwegian interviewees were conducted. An analysis of convergencies and divergencies between the data sets provided robust insights into the perceptions and behaviors within the equine sector in Sweden and Norway. The findings show that the equine sector has cultivated a stronger environmental commitment over the last 15 years (Svala, 2008). However, many participants express a perceived lack of influence on this transformation. The COM-B model (Michie, Van Stralen & West, 2011; Michie, Atkins & West, 2014) and previous research on 'thinking structures on climate delay' (Wormbs & Wolrath, 2023) are used to interpret the data. The analysis indicates that there is an overall capacity for change, and that skills and knowledge exist, but some individuals desire more information and a deeper understanding of the issues at hand. Higher barriers to change were found in the opportunity component, where physical constraints such as location, resources, and time seem challenging for individual actors to influence. Economic factors are also identified as impediments to transformation. Cultural norms related to orderliness within stables, although not directly addressing ecological nor ethical challenges, might serve as a foundation for promoting environmental initiatives that will also improve horse welfare.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI, 2024. Vol. 14, no 6, article id 915
Keywords [en]
equine sector, environmental challenges, COM-B model, horse welfare
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:mau:diva-66910DOI: 10.3390/ani14060915ISI: 001191709900001PubMedID: 38540013Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85188720216OAI: oai:DiVA.org:mau-66910DiVA, id: diva2:1854495
Available from: 2024-04-25 Created: 2024-04-25 Last updated: 2024-04-25Bibliographically approved

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Hedenborg, SusannaSätre, Anna

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