Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Horse Owner Compliance to Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Version 1 : Received: 5 March 2021 / Approved: 8 March 2021 / Online: 8 March 2021 (11:18:30 CET)

How to cite: Fowler, V.; Loftus, L. Horse Owner Compliance to Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Preprints 2021, 2021030211 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202103.0211.v1). Fowler, V.; Loftus, L. Horse Owner Compliance to Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Preprints 2021, 2021030211 (doi: 10.20944/preprints202103.0211.v1).

Abstract

In December 2019, an unusual cluster of pneumonia cases were reported in Wuhan and promptly confirmed to be caused by a new virus known as severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) of which the disease it caused would be known as COVID-19. In March 2020, in the absence of any vaccines, and in response to the global spread of SARS-CoV-2 the UK implemented non-pharmaceutical intervention (NPI) measures in the form of a national lockdown to decelerate the spread. Compliance with NPIs can have significant impact on reducing disease transmission however there are currently no studies measuring compliance within the horse ownership world which naturally brings groups of people together during everyday caregiving activities. This article describes the reported horse owner compliance during the COVID-19 pandemic from March 2020 to December 2020 as deduced from 1036 respondents which completed an anonymous online survey between December 30th, 2020 and January 11th, 2021. Where rules/guidance did exist, there was good compliance with 92.76% of respondents indicating that they were following them. The most common rule/guidance implemented was social distancing, which was also the most common rule/guidance to be breached. Riding with others whilst at the yard (hacking or in an arena) and meeting up with non-household members (family and friends) when off the yard were also common rules/guidelines breached. Respondents who kept their horses at either DIY livery, or on a private yard were most likely to breach rules/regulations whereas respondents who kept their horses at full livery were least likely to breach rules/regulations. The results indicate that compliance of horse owners with COVID-19 rules/guidance is high when rules/guidance exists. However, just under half of respondents indicated that there were no rules/guidelines on their yards indicating that there is room for an increased contribution from the horse owning community by encouraging more yards to impose control measures where they currently do not exist.

Keywords

COVID-19; SARS-CoV-2; horse owner compliance; non-pharmaceutical interventions

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