Goverment-industry partnership to combat equine disease welcomed


The equine community has welcomed the idea of a new goverment-industry partnership to help protect horses from disease. Following on from the shelving of the proposed horse tax by the government last year, a proposal has been announced for a new partnership approach to transforming decisions on animal disease and welfare.

The Labour government originally proposed a tax on horse owners in order to partially fund a government body that would have been tasked with managing and preventing equine disease. However, it was felt by most of the public concerned that this would lead to unnecessary bureaucracy and would place an unfair financial burden on the equine sector.

The British Horse Industry Confederation (BHIC) set up a website - - to campaign against the proposed horse tax. They received almost 13,000 e-petition signatures via this website and in July 2010 the coalition government announced that they were shelving the controversial horse tax.

Recently it has been announced that the government have devised an alternative proposal. A new government-industry partnership will work with horse owners to improve equine disease control.  The BHIC has been at the forefront of the development of these plans.

There are proposals to establish a unique ‘England Partnership Board’ within the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra). If implemented by ministers, the new board would see responsibility for decisions on animal health and welfare fully shared between government, industry and animal owners.

Professor Tim Morris, chair of the BHIC, said: “We’re confident that the proposals set out represent the best way forward on responsibility and cost sharing and the sector looks forward to continuing to engage with ministers on vitally important issues such as the spread of equine disease.”

Visit the website for more information on the Rethink the Horse Tax campaign and the latest proposals from the government concerning the management of equine disease.

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