New initiative to help boost equine industry

  • DEFRA has announced a new “official of the horse” to help develop future strategies for the equine industry

    DEFRA has appointed a new “official for the horse” to co-ordinate work within the rural affairs office and other government departments and agencies.

    Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael is the current “Minister for the Horse” and has recently contacted the Local Government Association, Highways Agency and Railtrack to stress the importance of controlling ragwort on land that comes under their jurisdiction.

    His department has also issued two publications aimed at land managers on the requirements of the Weeds Act and methods of weedcontrol.

    The new official, Graham Cory, is Head of the Rural Economies and Strategies Division. A DEFRA spokesman explained that Mr Cory would work with the main equestrian organisations to develop a strategy to make the industry more competitive within the rural economy.

    He has already had preliminary discussions with the British Horse Society, British Equestrian Federation and National Office of Animal Health.

    Several different DEFRA offices, along with the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (racing) and the Home Office (gambling) work alongside the equestrian industry, so the appointment of one government contact is likely to be welcomed.

    The British Horse Industry Confederation, formed in 1999 to be a mouthpiece for the industry as a whole, is full of praise for the initiative.

    “We are delighted that DEFRA has moved so fast in putting in place a specific structure for the development of a strategy for the horse. We look forward to an enhanced relationship with DEFRA on behalf of an industry that makes a major contribution towards the rural economy,” said a spokesman.

    Read the full story in this week’s Horse & Hound (3 October), or click here to subscribe and enjoy Horse & Hound delivered to your door every week.

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