The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) is lobbying for the retention of statutory funding for veterinary research when the proposed Horserace Betting Right is setup.

The long awaited replacement of the Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB) was announced in the pre-election budget. It will generate extra funding for the racing industry from off shore gambling by selling the right to bet on horse racing.

The new scheme is expected to generate more revenue for racing but BEVA said the equine veterinary industry must still receive the level of funding it had under the old system.

The Horserace Betting Levy Board has provided over £27m for equine research and education in the UK since 2000.

“British racing significantly beats the rest of the world with its contributions to veterinary science,” said Tim Mair, chair of BEVA’s education committee.

“The Equine Veterinary Journal has reported that over 10% of its output relates to HBLB research. This is six times more than from Australia where a horseracing betting right is already in operation,” he added.

Mair said he was “cautiously optimistic” that the new system will bring much needed funding into British racing but said “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 said any future cutbacks could affect the health of all horses and ponies in the UK.

“There is considerable investment in infectious disease surveillance from racing and this work is of benefit to all quarters of the equestrian world,” said Mountford.

“It is essential that the racing industry continues to repay the debt owned to the horse to maintain welfare and enhance our understanding of equestrian science,” added BEVA president Andrew Harrison.