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PLANS for Europe-wide testing of meat for horse DNA and improvements to the horse passport system were outlined by Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State at Defra, during the 21st National Equine Forum (NEF), which was held in London on March 5. The event was attended by over 200 members of the equestrian community, including the NEF's president, HRH the Princess Royal, international equine vets, riders and trainers and equestrian trade business leaders.
Mr Paterson emphasised the importance of the equestrian industry to the economy, and its key role in rural life. ‘I believe that Defra's job is to create the right conditions for rural growth,’ he said. ‘We need to provide help when it is needed and get out of people's hair when it is not.’
He went on to address the topic of the substitution of beef with horsemeat, which, he said, had shaken consumer confidence in meat products. He described plans to introduce a Europe-wide programme of testing for horse DNA.
On the subject of horse passports, Mr Paterson said that …
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