British Horse Industry Confederation (BHIC) members launched the National Equine Welfare Review Group (NEWRG) in early 2008 following the Spindles Farm case in Buckinghamshire (news, 17 January 2008), where more than 100 dead and dying horses were found at a farm.
Now it will merge with the government-backed Equine Health and Welfare Strategy group (EHWS), launched in March 2007.
Paul Jepson, chief executive of The Horse Trust, said: “NEWRG brought the horseworld together and will now be subsumed into the strategy group. There is tremendous overlap.”
When NEWRG was formed, 14 groups involved in horse welfare, including the Association of Chief Police Officers, agreed to meet annually to work together to fight neglect (news, 19 June 2008).
“NEWRG has done its job,” BHIC chairman Professor Tim Morris told H&H.
“One of the big things the group highlighted was that we only have finite resources — there is no more money for horse welfare — so we need to share those precious resources and consolidate our approach.”
He said adding NEWRG members to the strategy team would help take the weight off the shoulders of current EWHS members.
The EHWS has an ongoing 10-year plan to improve health and welfare standards and surveillance, to explore methods of horse identification, to review medicines and their availability and to promote research and education.
This article was first published in Horse & Hound (19 November, ’09)