James Paice, MP and shadow minister for agriculture and rural affairs, outlined the Conservative Party’s plans for the horse world at the 18th National Equine Forum (NEF) on March 4.

James Paice, MP and shadow minister for agriculture and rural affairs, outlined the Conservative Party’s plans for the horse world at the 18th National Equine Forum (NEF) on March 4.

The event, which was attended by over 200 of the country’s most influential members of the equestrian industry – including NEF President HRH The Princess Royal – was also chosen as the launch pad for a new Museum of the Horse.

James Paice  MPMr Paice, MP for South East Cambridgeshire, pointed out that horse riding and racing directly (and indirectly) support around 250,000 jobs and inject “many billions of pounds into the British economy”. Due to this, he claimed, the industry needs to be protected and promoted.

On the subject of horse passports he said that, while his party’s manifesto at the last election had said that the compulsory part of issuing passports would be dropped, the Conservatives now accept that situations had changed and that this would no longer be the policy. He accepted that passports should be for all horses and highlighted the benefits in terms of disease control.

However he also recognised that many people still questioned whether passports need to remain compulsory and welcomed public opinion on the matter. He also raised concerns about the massive evasion that currently exists.

Other issues covered by Mr Paice included animal transport, animal disease and the need for Government to meet its responsibilities for border bio-security and laboratories. In conclusion, he claimed the Conservative Party would work with the horse industry to find solutions to challenges that may occur, and said the party would “keep out of the industry’s way” as much as it could.

Equestrian historian Caroline Anns-Baldock revealed her ideas for the first ever Museum of the Horse in the UK. She revealed how she has set up “a strong committee of equestrian and business experts” and is in the process of setting up a trust to fund the first phase of development which includes building a website, putting together travelling exhibitions and securing suitable premises for the museum.

Other presentations, from some of the UK’s most distinguished equine vets, included:

  • DEFRAs view of the UK equine industry;
  • Licensing for UK horse establishments and equine sanctuaries;
  • The development of systems to endoscope galloping horses;
  • Nutrition and gastric ulceration – cause or cure;
  • Worming and wormers;
  • Identification: the legalities, logistics and welfare issues;
  • Training and regulation of paraprofessionals;
  • The control of exotic disease and equine flu.

HRH The Princess RoyalAdditionally, the British Horse Society undergraduate presentation 2010 was delivered by Holly Claridge, winner of the Eqvalan Duo Equine Thesis of the Year 2009, who presented The 3D anatomy of the cervical articular process joint in the horse.

NEF president, HRH The Princess Royal, closed the day with a personal view on aspects of the equestrian industry. Of her new role as president she said: “Although I have attended the forum many times in the past, this is the first occasion on which I have attended as its president. I was delighted to be asked to take on the appointment, and I hope that I will be able to be actively involved in selecting suitable topics for future forums.”

The full proceedings of the 2010 National Equine Forum can be downloaded at www.bef.co.uk

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