Have you pledged to #StampOutStrangles yet?

Over 360 horse owners and 98 yard managers across the UK have already vouched to help fight infectious disease through pledging their support to our ‘Stamp Out Strangles’ campaign.

In November 2018, Redwings launched the ‘Pledge’ asking the equestrian community to come together to champion better biosecurity practices to rid the country of strangles for good – a devastating disease which can cause misery for both horses, their owners and equestrian businesses.

Find more about strangles here - 'What is Strangles?'

We're thrilled with the response to the campaign so far, with Pledgers showing a clear appetite for change, especially in the wake of recent outbreaks of another highly infectious disease, equine influenza, hitting the headlines.

However, we're continung to urge more yard managers and horse owners to get involved and have an exciting year of activities and events planned to highlight the vital importance of biosecurity, including a strangles symposium, free veterinary seminars and a national day of action.

Click here to take the Pledge and help protect your horse from strangles

Andie Vilela, Education and Campaigns Manager, said: “We’re thrilled with the reaction to our Pledge so far, not just by the level of support we’ve received but also the conversations about biosecurity that have arisen from it. So many people have shared stories of their experiences with strangles and the stigma they’ve faced – some particularly heart-breaking – demonstrating a clear desire for meaningful change to happen.

“A recent survey we conducted of livery yards showed that 68% have some form of screening process in place, which is really encouraging. However, just 13% of horse owners said they take measures to protect their horses so we know there’s a lot more to be done.

“Our campaign provides easily-accessible practical advice, information and resources to make it as simple as possible for yard managers and horse owners to work together to proactively improve hygiene practices – something we understand is important when fitting busy lives around caring for horses! With equine flu hitting the headlines, more people are talking about the importance of good biosecurity so don’t get left behind - take the Pledge today.”

As Pledgers, horse owners agree to champion good biosecurity practices, to communicate openly if their horse may have been in contact with strangles and to clear their horse of being a strangles carrier if they become infected.

Meanwhile yard managers pledge to reduce the strangles risk at their businesses through screening new arrivals, producing a yard protocol for their clients and responding immediately if a strangles case is suspected.

The Pledge is part of a Stamp Out Strangles online hub, full of free information and advice on spotting the signs of the disease and preventing or managing an outbreak. And with strangles being a topic of continuous scientific research, all pledgers receive regular updates and practical tips to help them stay one step ahead of the disease.

Horse owners can also access a map of livery yards who have signed up to the Pledge so they can see which businesses are committed to helping protect their horse from strangles.

Rob Richardson, owner of Whiterails Livery in Norfolk, signed up to the Pledge following a free veterinary seminar on strangles hosted by Redwings. While his business has never experienced an outbreak and already had proactive measures in place, he says the Stamp Out Strangles campaign has helped his team further develop their biosecurity policies.

Mr Richardson said: “With new housing in the area, we’re getting lots of new people moving into the local area and bringing their horses. I went along to one of Redwings’ strangles seminars and I realised we should be doing more about our biosecurity. Our former yard manager had already put measures in place but the campaign has helped us look at what we were doing and build on it.”

He added: “Good biosecurity is so important. If we had strangles, it would close us down for a long time – you can’t be too careful. I hope this campaign goes on to inspire others to do more.”

Later this year, we will be joining other leading equine welfare organisations for an industry symposium to discuss how we can work together to encourage more people to take action against infectious disease. We're also planning more free evening seminars for yard managers and horse owners, as well as a special Stamp Out Strangles action day in July, with more details being released soon.