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National equine forum
Collective responsibility key in ensuring equine health and welfare

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THE importance of everyone involved in the equine industry taking responsibility for the future health and welfare of all horses was emphasised by speakers at this year's National Equine Forum, held in London on March 6. More than 200 people from the industry attended the forum, where issues covered included the problem of unnecessary breeding, the treatment of unwanted horses, the development of a workable equine identification system and a central database, and responsible ownership.

Alick Simmons, deputy Chief Veterinary Officer at Defra, spoke at the forum on behalf of Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State, who was speaking in parliament on the subject of the winter floods. Mr Simmons gave Defra's view of a number of equestrian issues, including disease control and horse passports.

He indicated that two equine diseases – equine viral arteritis (EVA) and contagious equine metritis (CEM) – could have their notifiable disease status removed in the future. This, he said, would bring the UK in line with most other EU member states.

Alick Simmons – removing the notifiable status of equine viral arteritis and contagious equine metritis would bring the UK in line with most of Europe Photographs: Craig Payne/NEF

He also reported that a revised tripartite agreement would come into force in May this year. The revised agreement – covering the movement of Equidae between the UK, Ireland and France – changed the eligibility criteria for movements of high health status horses between the UK and France and between France and Ireland. This meant that certain classes of …

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