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Recession hits equine disease research

The Horse Trust must raise £250,000 to restart its research programme that pours £1million into equine disease studies each year.

The charity spent £1,149,557 on research last year — with subjects including sweet itch, strangles and worming.

But a drop in income from investments led to an operating loss of £334,048, meaning no new research can be funded next year.

The Horse Trust launched a fund-raising drive, inviting the Princess Royal and potential donors to its Buckinghamshire base, on 15 October.

Equine welfare manager for the charity, Rebecca Evans, said: “We would normally be inviting funding applications for three-year projects to start next year, but instead we need to
cut back so we can fund our current projects.”

Professor Andrew Waller at the Animal Health Trust has been working on a strangles vaccine for seven years and the Horse Trust has helped by funding the DNA sequencing of the bacteria responsible, streptococcus equi.

Now a marketable vaccine is very close to being created.

Prof Waller told H&H: “My team would not have got this far without the help of Horse Trust funding. It’s a shame other projects will miss out on their support.”

For more information about the Horse Trust and how to donate to the fund, go to www.horsetrust.co.uk

This article was first published in Horse & Hound (12 November, ’09)

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