GUEST BLOG: How to go plastic-free with your horse feed | By The Horse Feed Guru
When I first started working as an equine nutritionist in 2004 I don’t think I ever had enquiries from horse owners wanting to go ‘plastic free’ or follow a ‘sustainable way of living’. These days of course it is quite different and for good cause. To live sustainably we must use less of the Earth’s natural resources, replenish what we can and produce less polluting waste. More and more people are becoming aware of the 4 R’s.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Replenish. Reduce is always at the top of the list however, which is why I now receive enquiries regarding ‘plastic free’ horse feed and supplement packaging. But what should you be thinking about when choosing from these sorts of products, or indeed any product as an indication to the quality of product inside the packaging? Here are some steps to consider on your quest to live sustainably, whilst also considering the needs of your horse.
Is the company a member of the BETA NOPs scheme?
This is a particularly important one if you compete under rules. The last thing you want is to potentially commit an EADCMR (Equine Anti-Doping and Controlled Medication Regulations) violation by complete accident due to the feed or supplements you use. So, for those of you who are unsure what I am talking about a naturally occurring prohibited substance (or NOPS) is one that is either naturally present within certain ingredients or that occurs as a result of inadvertent cross contamination during processing before arriving at the feed manufacturer’s facility. Selecting a feed or supplement that chooses to be audited in adherence to the code means you are reducing the risk of NOPS. You may think that if you are competing under rules, yet at a low level this doesn’t apply to you, but it absolutely does. For more information about BETA NOPS and the companies who participate under the code, please follow the link.
2. Is the company UFAS registered?
UFAS stands for the Universal Feed Assurance Scheme. The scheme is audited and certified by an independent certification body, in accordance with the internationally recognised standard EN45011. But what does this mean in relation to your horse feed? Well it means:
- Full traceability of ingredients - from the packaged product right back to buying in the raw materials.
- Guaranteed Good Manufacturing Practice in place.
- Ingredients are guaranteed dioxin, bacteria, fungi and pesticide free, within EU limits.
- No cross contamination of ingredients.
- No external contamination of ingredients.
- Guaranteed use of approved suppliers only.
- Guaranteed HACCP plan (globally recognized Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) - which ensures first class quality control and uniformity of production.
All of the above gives assurance to high quality production methods and quality of ingredients. When choosing your ‘plastic-free’ products look for ones that display the UFAS logo on their packaging.
3. Could you achieve the same thing slightly differently?
The other really obvious point when looking at your horse’s diet and trying to reduce the packaging is could you achieve the same result via a slightly different method? So for example, if you are adding a vitamin and mineral supplement in a plastic tub could you use a balancer available in a paper bag instead? That is just one quick win example.
4. Do you understand what supplements you are adding and if they are really required?
Another important point to consider is does your horse really require the supplement you are adding? I see so many people drawn in by pretty packaging, or watching their friends feed something, so they think they should, and the supplement really is not relevant to their horses. As such really do take the time to understand if the supplement you use is needed at all.
It may be that you feel some of the above points are not relevant to you and your horse (for example you don’t compete), but these are all good guidelines to really consider when choosing a feed or supplement manufacturer. It is also important to remember that there is often more than one way to feed a horse to achieve the same outcome; so as long as you understand the choice behind what you are feeding, and your horses are happy and healthy you probably will not be too far wrong. Keeping things simple I find is often the key, and very much my philosophy. If you are unsure if your horse is on the correct diet or you require help selecting a suitable ‘plastic-free’ regime for your horse please do get in touch via email firstname.lastname@example.org or via the phone 07901337826 to book a consultation.
To celebrate the #RidersOnAMission Sustainability Challenge, all Honest Riders customers booking consultations in the month of July quoting ‘PLASTICFREE’ will receive a £5 discount!
You can find out more about Donna here.