The FECTU Welfare Code for the Care and Use of Traction Animals






The domestication of plants and animals was one of the most remarkable developments in human civilisation. In domesticating them, mankind sought animals to keep them company, to protect them, to help them with hunting, to provide them with meat, skins, milk and wool. Over time animals were also used for work; for carrying goods and for pulling carts, for working the land and for riding.


The animals that were domesticated for work were selected from species that lived in herds and had developed social and co-operative relationships within the herd. This meant that it was possible, in training these animals, to benefit from those social mores. The relationship with them, based upon trust and co-operation, is a basic requirement of being able to work effectively and kindly with them.


FECTU is committed to responsible use of traction animals that respects their physical limits and their dignity. FECTU supports the use of traction animals for the important role they still play in our lives and commerce and because of their contribution as a sustainable and renewable source of energy


FECTU is a European wide Association made up of professionals who continue to work with traction animals - horses, mules, donkeys and oxen - in agriculture, forestry, wine and cider making, horticulture, tourism and education.


All FECTU members support the welfare code for the care and use of their animals and enforce it to guarantee high professional and welfare standards that reflect the needs of the animals.


The FECTU Welfare Code for the Care and Use of Traction Animals



  • The animals to be kept in conditions and in an environment that is stress free and suitable for the species, their age and their gender.

  • The animals to have constant access to good quality and suitable food and clean water.

  • Any work that the animals are asked to do will be within their capacity both in terms of their  physical capabilities but also their age and training.

  • Young animals will not be asked to work harder than their age and physical development allows

  • Harness and equipment to be suitable for the job, in good condition of repair and maintenance and suitable for both the animal used and the job it is asked to perform.

  • Planning for good health care is essential and all necessary measures will be taken to prevent injury and disease. In the event of any medical need, all treatment will be carried out by a qualified practitioner.

  • Foot care to be regular and of a high quality.

  • In training and in work, animals are to be free to move naturally.



The members of FECTU, the various Associations that make up the umbrella organisation, are committed to continual improvements in skills and knowledge: both theoretical and practical training that contributes to the well being of their animals.