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The International League for the Protection of Horses - ILPH (now World Horse Welfare)

ILPH logoThe International League for the Protection of Horses (ILPH), founded by Ada Cole in 1927, is dedicated to preventing and alleviating the suffering of horses and other equines wherever they are located, and however humble their roles.

With its headquarters in Norfolk, four Recovery and Rehabilitation Centres throughout the UK and affiliate organisations in Germany, South Africa, Israel and New Zealand, the ILPH has grown to become the world’s leading international equine welfare charity.

Worldwide activities embrace recovery and rehabilitation, education and training, emergency relief, equine veterinary sponsorship and influencing political opinion and legislation on welfare matters.
Around the world, equine suffering manifests itself in many different ways and can result from widely differing circumstances. Most suffering is caused by ignorance and, in developing countries, the population and their equines know nothing but a harsh and unremitting working life. This suffering is rarely intentional - indeed the owners recognise that their equines often stand between them and poverty.

The ILPH believes that education and training is of fundamental importance in ensuring long term improvements to equine welfare in these countries. It runs training courses on farriery, harness making and nutrition, often starting owners on a new and more profitable career path leading to the mutual benefit of horse and man. ILPH philosophy is to "train the trainers" to ensure a lasting legacy.

In the UK, cases of cruelty or neglect due to domestic or economic pressures unfortunately still occur all too frequently. In these instances the ILPH will take action to remove equines to one of its recovery and rehabilitation centres for care, treatment and retraining.

Once returned to full health they are loaned to carefully chosen homes. Currently over 1700 equines, from children’s ponies, sport horses and companions, are on the ILPH Loan Scheme all of which are checked regularly by the ILPH team of 16 field officers.

From its earliest days the ILPH has emphasised that man should work closely with equines, believing that both benefit greatly from the partnership. It encourages the use and not the abuse of the horse, recognising that the only hope for the future of this unique animal in the western world is in the pleasure it can give in both sport and leisure.

The ILPH supports the correct and caring use of the horse in sport, provided that it is carried out under the strict regulations of the sport’s ruling body. As the welfare arm of the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI) the ILPH is on hand to advise these bodies on welfare issues.

The ILPH also supports scientific research into causes of equine suffering. It aided The Animal Health Trust’s research into the heat stress that was thought likely to be encountered by the horses competing in Atlanta in the 1996 Olympic Games. This research proved to have been invaluable when all the event horses competing at the Olympics finished the cross-country phase in fine form.

The results of this research now have far-reaching implications for a better understanding of sport horse welfare worldwide and the cooling methods developed have now become common practice in competitions worldwide.
The ILPH also recognises the significance of political lobbying and direct government contact as a means of influencing legislation to improve equine welfare. It has developed extensive contacts in the European Commission (EC) and with individual governments throughout the world.

ILPH investigators work tirelessly in Eastern Europe, both politically and behind the scenes, to influence and seek further information on the transportation of horses for slaughter. Through their work with the EC and governments they are helping to improve the conditions and treatment of horses en route for slaughterhouses in Italy.

Sadly, until the horrific traffic is stopped altogether, the transportation issue will remain high on the ILPH agenda.
Further information on the work of the ILPH (World Horse Welfare) can be found on

NB: ILPH has changed its name to World Horse Welfare and can be contacted via their website. Please do not contact Nagtrader; we have no direct connection with ILPH / World Horse Welfare

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