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Funding Cuts Could Impact All Equines, BEVA Warns

24 March 2015
TEXT HERE

UK - Funding for equine veterinary research must be maintained under the new Horserace Betting Right, vets have said.

The development of the Horserace Betting Right was announced in the pre-election budget last week.

Intended as a replacement of the Horserace Betting Levy Board, it would secure additional funding to the industry from off shore gambling by selling the right to bet on horse racing, in a similar way to how musicians earn performing rights.

While the anticipated increase in revenue generated by the new scheme is good news for racing in general BEVA wants to ensure that the equine veterinary industry still receives the level of funding that it has been receiving under the HBLB system.

The Horserace Betting Levy Board has provided over £27 million for equine research and education in the UK since 2000, making the UK international leaders in improving the health and welfare of horses through advancements in veterinary science. Historically this funding has remained independent of the racing authority and has been transparent to all stakeholders.

Tim Mair, Chair of BEVA’s Education Committee, said: “British Racing significantly beats the rest of the world with its contributions to veterinary science. The Equine Veterinary Journal has reported that over 10 per cent of its output relates to HBLB research.

"This is six times more than from Australia where a horseracing betting right is already in operation. I am cautiously optimistic that this new system will bring much needed funding into British Racing but it is essential that the future model includes a robust mechanism to ensure that veterinary funding continues to be prioritised in the UK.”

David Mountford, CEO of BEVA, continued: “There is considerable investment in infectious disease surveillance from racing and this work is of benefit to all quarters of the equestrian world because viruses don’t distinguish between a racehorse and a pony. Any future cut-backs could affect the health of all horses and ponies in UK.”

“Without the horse there is no horseracing,” concluded Andrew Harrison, President of BEVA.

“It is essential that the racing industry continues to repay the debt owed to the horse to maintain welfare and enhance our understanding of equestrian science.”

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