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The British Equine Veterinary Association (BEVA) has a new president, Lesley Barwise-Munro. Lesley, 45, (pictured right) took over from Alistair Barr at the end of 2004 and is keen to make her mark during the year of her presidency.

“We’re working on a health and welfare strategy for the horse,” she says. “It’s BEVA-initiated but owned and driven by the equine industry. We are working with such bodies as the British Equestrian Federation, Jockey Club, the International League for the Protection of Horses, British Horse Industry Confederation and so on.

“We’re looking at areas of concern in each equine sector — what the issues are and how they can be improved. For example, transport, the escalating costs of carcass disposal, owner education and disease surveillance. We aim to put the document out for public consultation by the end of 2005.”

A keen rider, Lesley was in the West Cumberland branch of the Pony Club as a child, competing and hunting. A graduate of the Royal (Dick) Vet School in Edinburgh, she qualified in equine practice in 1992 and joined the BEVA council in 1997. She is now an equine vet in Alnwick, Northumberland.

Lesley has two children — who belong to the Percy Pony Club branch — and all three hunt with the Percy when time allows.

“It will be very interesting to see what welfare implications will result from the hunt ban — especially with regard to carcass disposal,” she says.

Lesley is also senior racecourse vet at Newcastle, and works at local competitions and point-to-points.

BEVA is at the forefront of the drive for the licensing of livery yards, part of DEFRA’s Draft Animal Welfare Bill currently under review before being presented to Parliament.

“BEVA helped set up the British Horse Society’s scheme,” she explains. “It’s about raising standards at the bottom of the market — giving people confidence that if a yard is licensed it has achieved a basic level of knowledge and care.”

Also on BEVA’s agenda this year is to further the training and examination of vets and equine dentists.

“BEVA would like a regulatory body for dentists,” says Lesley. “We’re very happy to
work with para-professionals, but would like them to have someone to answer to — as vets have the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons and farriers have the Worshipful Company.”

  • This news article was first published in Horse & Hound (3 February, ’05)


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