A decision on the future of the National Equine Database (NED) has been postponed until mid-August at the earliest.

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) was set to announce last week whether it would step in to complete the project (news, 28 June). Originally planned for public launch in 2005, NED, a joint venture between the BEF and DEFRA, has been hit by a series of delays.

But BEF chief executive Andrew Finding said the BEF board needed more time to reach its decision.

“The Passport Issuing Organisations [PIOs] want us to take a lead on NED and the industry is very committed to the project,” he explained. “The BEF board wants to take a look at some issues again, including one or two of the financial aspects. We also need to complete negotiations with DEFRA and go back to our member bodies.”

Mr Finding said he hoped a decision would be reached by 15 August.

He added: “By taking more time, the board isn’t saying no. But if we do go ahead, we’ll do it from a base that doesn’t have too great a level of commitment.”

This news story was first published in Horse & Hound (2 August, ’07)