Minimising the Ecotoxic Effects of Horse Wormers on the Environment

Minimising the Ecotoxic Effects of Horse Wormers on the Environment  

Minimising the Ecotoxic Effects of Horse Wormers on the Environment  

27 January 2023

Free Webinar with World Horse Welfare

Concern about the overuse of worming chemicals in animals has never been higher. Not only is reckless treatment causing rapid resistance problems, but a burgeoning area of research is revealing the devastating effects they are wreaking on our environment too. Some of the most toxic of these are ivermectin and moxidectin, the chemicals most frequently prescribed for worming horses. It’s estimated that between 80 to 98% of an oral dose of ivermectin passes straight through the horse and is excreted in the dung without being metabolised by the body. High concentrations of these toxic chemicals are thus reaching the soil where they are absorbed by plants and soil invertebrates, such as dung beetles, earthworms and also washed into watercourses, often with lethal effects.

The unintended consequence of managing parasite burdens with these chemicals is crippling our soil ecosystem and particularly the numbers of dung beetles - an indicator species for the health of grazing land and an invertebrate often first on the scene of the dung pile. These amazing little critters are nature’s bin men. They could play an important role in managing animal waste naturally, negating the need for the heavy labour of poo picking and giving a host of added benefits to the land, if we could only stop poisoning them and start supporting their populations to regenerate.

So how do we get the balance right for both horse health and the environment? Join us on a free Zoom webinar, presented by World Horse Welfare as we take a closer look at these intricate relationships and run through the research and recommendations to navigate what can be a tricky area of horse health. We’ll look at:

  • Test-based parasite control programmes to help us target treatments
  • Pasture management for parasite control and to encourage dung beetles
  • How to manage horses after worming treatments to minimise environmental contamination
  • Managing contaminated dung on your muckheaps

We’ll be joined by BEVA President David Rendle to answer your questions about de-worming sustainably.