Extend coaching development programme Improve the standard of facilities Extend long-term athlete and equine development programmes Encourage unaffiliated bodies to engage 85 8. Improve the quality and breeding of horses and ponies 89 a) Establish lead bodies to assist in the improvement of the quality of horses and ponies b) Capitalise on National Equine Database to improve breeding c) Raise standards in studs d) Balance genetic improvement with genetic diversity e) Conservation of native and indigenous horses and ponies 4 Resources, Monitoring and Implementation Annex A : Government departments’ Public Service Agreement aims and objectives 99 100 5 Ministerial Foreword Government recognise the major contribution which the horse industry makes to the economy, and the important role that horses play in the lives of so many people in both the cities and rural areas across England and Wales.
Moreover, Government shares with the British Horse Industry Confederation a strong conviction that the industry has the potential to develop further and to contribute even more.
This Strategy is aimed at unlocking that potential.
Over the past four years, the relationship between the industry and Government has developed markedly, and a real working partnership has emerged.
The publication of this Strategy is a landmark in this partnership, and recognition of the value and potential of all horse-related activities.
We were delighted with the constructive responses to the consultation on the draft Strategy, and the document has evolved significantly as a result.
The Strategy provides an exciting and demanding challenge, and we recognise the groundwork done by the British Horse Industry Confederation and others in recent years to enable the industry to meet that challenge.
The Strategy now includes more information about how the industry can contribute towards achieving national priorities, such as economic growth, community development, education, sport, health, rural regeneration, environmental protection and social inclusion and how Government can help them improve their performance.
The Strategy is not, however, set in stone, and Government will continue to look for further ways in which it can work with the industry to achieve common objectives, for example in relation to improving access for riders to safe, off-road routes and widening participation.
We also want to encourage the industry to look ahead to make the most of opportunities available to them, such as the London Olympics in 2012.
This Strategy does not stand alone.
It sits beside the Health and Welfare Strategy for the Horse, Pony and Donkey which is also being developed in cooperation with the horse industry, and supports existing work such as the horse passport scheme and the establishment of the National Equine Database, into which Government has already invested large sums of public money.
The horse industry encompasses a remarkably broad range of activities and businesses, all of which rest in one way or another on the horse and draw on the passionate enthusiasm it arouses.
The implementation of the Strategy will require the harnessing of this enthusiasm, and the continued, positive efforts of everyone interested in horses or engaged in horse-related business.
For this Strategy to succeed, it is vital that the good work that has gone into developing this Strategy continues and does not lose momentum.
We, therefore, urge everybody concerned with horses and equestrianism to read this Strategy and pledge their support, so that we can move forward in unison to deliver the vision it sets out of a strong, vibrant and sustainable future. 6 Jim Knight MP Minister for Rural Affairs and Local Environmental Quality and Minister for the Horse Industry Richard Caborn MP Minister for Sport and Tourism Carwyn Jones AM Minister for Environment, Planning and Countryside Welsh Assembly Government 7 Industry Foreword Given the large number of people who ride horses or drive carriages, the larger number who work in horse-related businesses and the still larger number who have an interest in horses which stops short of active participation, some might imagine that the horse industry constitutes one of the most influential pressure groups in England and Wales today.
They might also imagine that this multi-billion pound industry would be well able to co-ordinate its efforts, improve its economic efficiency and easily persuade new people into the sport.
Unfortunately they would be wrong in both their imaginings.
As a community we have too long been punching beneath our weight and have lacked either the will or the wit to capitalise on the strength which comes from effective and wholehearted cooperation.
But this Strategy has the capacity to mark a very important turning point in the fortunes of the horse industry in England and Wales.
It represents the fruits of two years of enthusiastic co-operation between all the signatory equestrian organisations, and between the industry and Government.
It has also been given increased authority by the huge response to the consultation exercises which have punctuated its creation.
The Strategy reflects in particular the labours of seven ‘Champions’ Annie Dodd (British Horseracing Board), Claire Williams (British Equestrian Trade Association), Margaret Linington-Payne (British Horse Society), Cathy McGlynn (British Horse Industry Confederation consultant), Pat Harris (British Horse Industry Confederation consultant), Andrew Finding (British Equestrian Federation), Graham Suggett (British Equestrian Federation) and David Mountford (British Equine Veterinary Association) and I am confident that the end product is a fair reflection of what the majority of participants within the industry would like to see happen over the coming months and years.
However, whereas we can rejoice that the Strategy has at last seen the light of day, we now have the more demanding task of taking forward the 50 Action Points which are necessary if there is to have been any point in all this effort.
Every action needs a person or, more likely, people to do it.
There is not a rider or driver or worker in equestrianism who is absolved from all responsibility.
If you do your bit the Strategy will be a success.
If you prefer to leave it all to someone else you lose your right to complain when nothing happens. 8 — 13 available to young people, and the nature of the work may not fit easily with conventional lifestyles.
The industry needs to develop clear career and qualifications structures, raise training and progression opportunities, improve working conditions, and build closer liaison with careers advisers.
Workplace experience should be used more effectively as a means to attract young people into the industry.
Provide an environment in which people wish to build a career – Equestrian business proprietors need a broader range of business-related skills than many currently possess.
The industry needs to encourage them to further their skills in human resource management, health and safety and physical resource management.
Aside from the Stable Lads Association in racing, employee representation in the industry is limited.
The industry needs to consider further whether a demand exists for greater representation and whether it would deliver additional benefits.
Identify skill levels and training needs – Little accurate data currently exists about the skill levels of people working in the industry or about likely future skills requirements.
The industry needs to carry out research in order to improve its understanding and preparation in these areas.
Improve opportunities for work- and college-based learning – There is concern voiced by some about the content of some college and non-vocational training courses.
There is a need to develop closer working between industry-based training providers and colleges, more flexible funding arrangements, and better training and career pathways.
Aim 5: Increase access to off-road riding and carriage driving Ensure a joined up and well maintained network of public rights of way – Strong concerns exist about the current arrangements for identifying, securing, delivering and protecting statutory rights of way.
Progress is being made through initiatives such as Discovering Lost Ways and Rights of Way Improvement Plans, but much more needs to be done.
The industry needs a coordinated structure to lead its access interests at a national level; it needs to establish productive links with the organisations which have led the way for walkers and cyclists; and it needs to develop a coordinated plan to improve access for all riders and drivers.
At a local level, Local Access Forums need to be developed further so that they can work effectively with local authorities in the delivery of Local Transport Plans which take full account of the needs of equestrians.
Increase provision of other off-road equestrian routes and of areas with equestrian open access – Clear scope exists for farmers and other public and private landowners to provide voluntary access to their land for riding and driving.
Bodies like the Forestry Commission need to be encouraged to continue to grant ready access, and a good practice guide needs to be developed to encourage others to pursue similar access projects.
The potential of stewardship and other subsidy schemes for encouraging landowners to grant access needs to be explored and disseminated; and toll rides need to be accepted as a legitimate part of the overall access picture. 14 Continue safety education for motorists, riders and carriage drivers – At least 3,000 road accidents every year involve horses.
Fortunately, few involve rider casualties, but work is needed to produce a more accurate picture of the overall equestrian road safety position.
This can help to reduce accidents by identifying local blackspots which can be addressed by the highway authorities, and provide valuable evidence to back up local, regional or national road safety campaigns.
The Department for Transport has done good work to educate motorists about how they should safely pass horses on the roads, and the industry now needs to continue to work with the Department and the Highways Agency to explore further ways of addressing safety issues, such as inappropriate road surfaces, and promote safety education, to the benefit of both horse riders and car drivers.
Ensure urban and suburban riding and carriage driving is promoted and improved – Riding is often mistakenly seen as an exclusively ‘rural’ activity.
In fact, there is a huge demand for access to safe places to ride on the outer margins of towns and cities, as well as within urban centres.
Good examples of urban and suburban riding facilities already exist, but the industry needs to exploit opportunities to promote urban riding and driving, and highlight the need to provide equestrian facilities to serve areas of major new housing development.
Aim 6: Consider the environmental impact of the horse Improve standards of land management – As well as the positive impact which horses have on the environment, there are also potential negative impacts which need to be managed.
The industry needs to work with local authorities and others to promote high standards of pasture management, ensure the continued effective control of ragwort, and secure a more consistent approach to planning.
Both industry and Government need to improve their knowledge about where horses are kept, and about the quality of the land used for grazing.
Encourage correct and safe manure storage and disposal – The storage and disposal of horse manure is an ongoing issue for horse owners.
The spreading of horse waste is currently considered by the Environment Agency to be a low risk waste and is dealt with under its Low Risk Initiative.
A recent European Court of Justice ruling that livestock effluent may not be classed as a ‘waste’ when it is used as a soil fertiliser, should also have beneficial effects for the horse industry.
However, there is a need to develop and disseminate clear and practical advice on safe and correct means of waste storage, composting, disposal and spreading.
Encourage the use of horses in conservation grazing project which support wildlife and pasture biodiversity – Well managed equines can be good for wildlife on meadows and pasture.
There are 75 conservation schemes operating in England and Wales, which use native pony breeds to help keep hill vegetation open by eating rough grasses.
These schemes not only capitalise on the strengths of the native breeds but also help to secure their future.
A range of guidelines exist to support conservation projects, but there may be scope to review these to produce a consolidated good practice guide. 15 Aim 7: Encourage sporting excellence Extend coaching development programme – Great Britain is already successful in many areas of equestrian sport, but the industry needs to work hard to maintain this position, both in the international equestrian arena and in the public’s sporting consciousness.
The 2012 Olympic Games represent a major opportunity to develop equestrian sport at all levels.
The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) is developing a unified Coaching Development Programme, which will help to raise standards throughout the industry.
Improve the standard of facilities – High quality facilities are fundamental to successful performance, and the BEF is leading on the development of a strategy to encourage the improvement of equestrian facilities amongst its members.
The benefits of this work need to be shared more widely within the industry.
Extend long-term athlete and equine development programmes – Long-term athlete development is used in various sports to help young people reach their full potential.
The BEF has such programmes for both young riders and horses, and these should be extended to a wider range of equine organisations interested in encouraging excellence.
Encourage unaffiliated bodies to engage – Many local sporting bodies organise equestrian activities without being linked to their sport’s national governing body.
Sometimes rules and regulations are not administered well, and standards of insurance and health and safety are not what they should be.
Such ‘unaffiliated’ groups should be brought into the fold to raise standards, give competitors a better experience, and encourage excellence.
Aim 8: Improve the quality and breeding of horses and ponies Establish lead bodies to assist in the improvement of the quality of horses and ponies – Considerable effort goes into breeding high quality horses and ponies.
However, aside from the Thoroughbred Breeders Association, which takes care of the needs of racing, the arrangements for promoting horse and pony breeding are too complex.
There is a need to identify and develop lead bodies for the breeding of horses, other than racing thoroughbred horses, which could represent and coordinate the views of the breed societies and other organisations within their ambit.
Capitalise on National Equine Database to improve breeding – The industry needs a comprehensive national database which can bring together breeding and performance information for the benefit of all.
The National Equine Database (NED) is a collaborative project between Defra and the horse industry, which will provide a central source of reliable information on horses bred, owned or registered in the UK.
The industry needs to give its full support to the project, and to take full advantage of the benefits it can offer.
Raise standards in studs – Concerns exist about the standards and record keeping of some studs.
The Breeders Quality Mark Scheme offers an opportunity to rectify this situation, and the breeding industry needs to rally around the scheme as a common industry standard.
Work needs to be done to support breeders in order to 16 retain their expertise: schemes such as Premium Mare Designation should be considered as ways of recognising quality outside of the thoroughbred field.
Balance genetic improvement with genetic diversity – The drive for genetic improvement needs to be balanced with maintaining genetic diversity, ensuring the genetic ‘fitness’ of the national herd and maintaining the gene pool.
Conservation of native and indigenous horses and ponies – The UK has a unique range of native pony types.
As well as forming a significant element of the equine breeding sector, they contribute to conservation and tourism, and are very popular animals for riding and driving.
Work needs to be done to promote greater recognition of the role that native horses and ponies play in these fields.
Training of young horses – There is no value in breeding quality horses and ponies unless they are trained to their optimum performance in whatever role they find themselves.
Encouragement must be given to those engaged in the training of young horses to enable them to produce horses that perform to the best of their physical ability. 17 Introduction The purpose of this Strategy 1 The purpose of this Strategy is to foster a robust and sustainable horse industry, increase its economic value, enhance the welfare of the horse, and develop the industry’s contribution to the cultural, social, educational, health and sporting life of the nation.
The Strategy sets out a vision of where the industry aspires to be within ten years, how the different parts of the industry fit into this picture, and how the Government can help it in following this path. Vision for the Horse Industry 2 The British Horse Industry Confederation (BHIC) and Government share a vision that within ten years the horse industry will have developed substantially from its current position, that the fragmentation that has impeded its progress in the past will have been resolved, and that equestrianism will be duly recognised as a successful and significant business, sport and leisure activity.
This vision is that, by 2015: • • • • • opportunities for riding for people of all ages and competences will be widespread, participants will be numerous and diverse, and the activity will no longer be perceived as exclusive, elitist or prohibitively expensive; this growth will be underpinned by a nationwide network of high quality, professionally managed and financially secure riding centres; riders and drivers will have access to an extensive, high quality, safe and secure network of statutory and non-statutory off-road routes; the horse industry will present a single, unified and influential front in proactive support of the wide range of interests it covers; the industry will have further established itself as a significant business sector and be widely recognised as making a substantial contribution to national and regional, rural and urban economies, to the social and cultural life of the nation, and to a sustainable and well-managed environment; equestrian sports will have a central place in the nation’s sporting consciousness, based on high profile national and international sporting achievements (including success at the 2012 Olympics), and be frequently and positively reflected in regular and mainstream media coverage; and Britain’s position as a world leader in equestrianism and breeding will be cemented; its unique equestrian heritage will be protected and celebrated; and its reputation as a nation of responsible and competent horse owners and breeders will be enhanced through still higher standards of equine health and welfare. • — • 3 See www.defra.gov.uk/animalh/ahws/ehws/index.htm 21 • • • • • • • to support and promote responsible breeding; to maintain the continued availability of equine medicines; to identify and address issues related to the permanent physical identification of equines by microchips; to implement successfully the National Equine Database; to re-examine current advice on health and welfare standards; to establish what education and training currently exists and to ensure that programmes support all key objectives; and to enforce standards of health and welfare where irresponsible owners are unwilling to follow voluntary advice. 17 The draft strategy presumes that horse, pony and donkey health and welfare reflects the Farm Animal Welfare Council’s five freedoms4.
The strategy also acknowledges that levels of equine health and welfare in England and Wales are generally high and notes that current standards for welfare are described in the Equine Industry Welfare Guidelines Compendium for Horse, Ponies and Donkeys, (2002)5.
ACTION 1: To achieve and maintain a high standard of equine health and welfare Action : To achieve and maintain a satisfactorily high standard of animal welfare throughout the horse industry, through successful implementation of the Health and Welfare Strategy for the Horse, Pony and Donkey, and through industry support to dedicated equine welfare organisations.
Responsibility : The whole horse industry.
Priority : On-going. 18 It is noted that welfare organisations are in their own right an integral part of the horse industry, with the total annual turnover of equine charities estimated at £61 million.
They are a significant consumer and producer of equine services and many are major tourist attractions. 4 5 www.fawc.org.uk/freedoms.htm The Equine Industry Welfare Guidelines Compendium for Horse, Ponies and Donkeys www.adas.co.uk/equinewelfare/compendium.pdf 22 The importance of the industry 19 The significance and potential of the horse industry itself, and of the benefits it brings to the life of the nation, are only now being fully recognised.
As the figures demonstrate, the industry makes a hugely important contribution to the economy, as well as to the social fabric of many communities.
Given the geographical distribution of the industry, it is particularly (but not exclusively) important in rural areas.
Participation in equestrian sport and other riding activities promotes health and well being, including helping to combat the growing problem of obesity; contributes to the education of many young people, helping them to develop both independence and a sense of responsibility; fosters volunteering, community development and social inclusion; and helps care for the land and the environment.
The Government and the industry will continue to work in partnership to maximise these benefits. The future of the industry 20 The research carried out by the Henley Centre, also investigated the industry’s prospects.
It concluded that current trends, especially the leisure economy, suggest the potential for real growth.
However, some small businesses and riding schools have fallen behind other leisure sectors and may decline even further if they do not become more competitive. 21 On 18 February 2005, a ban on the use of dogs to hunt wild mammals came into effect in England and Wales.
In drafting this Strategy, the merits or otherwise of a ban have been consciously avoided and over time the effects of a ban, on this Strategy, will be monitored and consideration will be given to any necessary revisions to the action points. 22 The Government is planning the abolition of the Horserace Betting Levy in 2009 and intends that it be replaced by commercial arrangements between the Racing and Betting Industries.
The Levy is the statutory mechanism for collecting an agreed percentage of bookmakers’ gross profits which is then distributed within the racing and wider horse industry.
An independent review group is currently seeking to identify a sustainable and enforceable replacement mechanism, taking into account recent court judgements in respect of database rights.
This would aim to provide continued funding for key purposes such as the improvement of horseracing (eg integrity, racecourse improvements, prize money and staff training), the advancement of veterinary science and education, and the improvement of breeds of horses (thoroughbreds and rare native breeds). 23 The Henley Centre research also observed that the horse industry is diverse, with communication between the various parts not always very effective.
It is essential that disagreement within the industry is overcome and that those with an interest in the industry begin to view it as a partnership.
The principal requirement for growth over the next ten years is to develop the necessary infrastructure to build and implement a successful Strategy that is actively promoted by the entire horse industry. 24 The horse industry will also need to take full advantage of developments over the next few years, not least the creation of Natural England which will bring together, — 78 and environment.
It was initially created by Surrey County Council and The Countryside Agency and continues to be supported by Surrey County Council, the Lower Mole Countryside Management Project and several of the County’s District and Borough Councils.
The Project has produced informative calendars and advice notes to provide year-round grassland management advice for horse keeping sites across Surrey.
The project also offers free site-specific advice via telephone, site visits, emails etc.
For more information see www.surreycc.gov.uk/horsepastureproject ACTION 35: Encourage Local Authorities and others with land management responsibilities to promote good pasture management Action : Encourage Local Authorities and others with land management responsibilities, to work with the horse industry, to develop pasture management projects in order to promote good land management and provide ‘best practice’ advice.
Responsibility : British Horse Industry Confederation (BHIC) and Government to promote the value of such projects.
Local Authorities and other bodies, to develop them as appropriate in conjunction with the horse industry and those who have already made advances in this area, such as Surrey County Council, and advisory organisations such as the Countryside Agency and English Nature.
Priority : Short-term.
ACTION 36: Code of practice for good land management Action: Explore the possibility of developing a joint Industry/Government code of best practice for all land owners/managers in the horse industry, to encourage better land management (taking into account equine welfare as well as biodiversity and wildlife conservation), building on the good work of Surrey County Council and others.
Responsibility : The BHIC, BHS, Local Authorities and bodies such as Countryside Agency, English Nature and the Environment Agency.
Priority : Medium-term. Ragwort 6.8 The British Horse Society’s (BHS) campaign on ragwort led to a welcome involvement by Government in ensuring that this toxic weed does not spread to land where there is a threat to horses and other grazing animals.
A Code of Practice on how to prevent the spread of ragwort in England was published in 200447, in Code of Practice on how to prevent the spread of ragwort (June 2004) See www.defra.gov.uk/environ/weedsact/default.htm 47 79 consultation with The BHS and other stakeholders to provide advice on identification of common ragwort, risk assessment and priorities for ragwort control.
Correct disposal of ragwort is an important part of overall control to prevent spread through seed dispersal and re-growth from root sections and Defra has also produced further guidance on disposal options of ragwort48. 6.9 Previously, there was concern that action to force landowners to clear ragwort from land grazed by or near horses was not quick enough, and often too late.
The Government has accepted this and priority is now given to investigating complaints where there is a risk of spread to land used for keeping or grazing horses or other animals.49 Where no action is taken by the land owner or occupier to control ragwort and there is a threat to animal welfare, Defra (or the Welsh Assembly, if the land is in Wales) will issue an enforcement notice under the Weeds Act 1959 requiring clearance50.
If an enforcement notice is not complied with, a contractor will clear the weeds and then costs will be recovered from the owner/ occupier of the land.
The horse industry hopes these measures, combined with initiatives such as the BHSorganised ‘Ragwort Awareness Week’, will prove to have a significant effect on controlling the spread of ragwort.
Land grazed by horses 6.10 The eligibility of land grazed by horses in the new Single Payment Scheme has been widely welcomed by the horse industry in England (see Aim 3 and 5 for more information on eligibility and conditions of the Single Payment Scheme).
The European Union is moving away from direct payments for production and towards initiatives to encourage landowners to take better care of the countryside.
It is essential that landowners with horses are included in these initiatives, which have an important cross compliance, land management angle. 6.11 There is, however, a huge lack of information about acreage grazed by horses, and where these areas are located.
This is a disadvantage both to the Government and the industry itself in that it inhibits future planning of both environmental and other policies.
The National Equine Database (see Aim 8) should be of considerable assistance in gathering this information, but monitoring will be needed to see what, if any, further information is required when it is fully up and running, and consideration will need to be given as to how this might be obtained. 48 Guidance note on the Disposal Options for Ragwort (2005) See www.defra.gov.uk/environ/weedsact/default.htm 49 In all cases, Defra expects the complainant to have approached the owner or occupier of the land on which the weeds are growing before making a formal complaint. 50 The introduction of the revised procedures 41 enforcement notices were issued in 2004 and so far this year, 68 enforcement notices have been issued.
These have proved effective in ensuring that action is taken. 80 ACTION 37: Produce a clear map of where horses are grazed Action : Evaluate the available spatial information about where horses are grazed, and the quality of land horses are kept on, and explore the development of a means to fill any subsequent gaps.
Responsibility : The BHIC, Defra, the Welsh Assembly and other bodies such as the Countryside Agency, using tools such as the National Equine Database, and exploring the utilisation of existing farm and other surveys.
Priority : Medium-term.
Planning 6.12 It is essential that the needs of horses, the effects of horse keeping on the landscape and the pressure on local infrastructure such as commons or bridleways, are taken into account in the planning system.
The horse industry welcomes the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister’s Planning Policy Statement 7, produced in August 2004 which included a new section giving guidance on equestrian accommodation intended to alleviate some of the problems over planning permission which have been experienced by horse enterprises.
However, no monitoring has yet taken place to assess whether this new guidance has been effective overall, and the horse industry feels that people are still being frustrated by the varying approaches which different planning authorities are taking to equestrian applications. (see Aim 3) CASE STUDY – South Shropshire District Council planning advice South Shropshire District Council has produced a detailed Practice Note, available on-line, which gives information on planning law and practice concerning development which involves the keeping and use of horses.
Equestrianism and horse-related activities are increasingly popular in this area.
The Council has actively supported new and existing horse enterprises, while at the same time producing advice such as the Practice Note to help ensure that necessary consents are sought. 6.13 The welfare needs of horses should also be taken into account at both national and local level when implementing other rural and access initiatives.
For example, the current policy of promoting easier access across footpaths by replacing stiles by kissing gates is, of course, welcome, but these gates are dangerous for horses, particularly young foals.
Local authorities need to be made aware of such issues, and encouraged to take them into account when deciding and implementing their priorities. 81 ACTION 38: Secure a more consistent performance by Local Authorities on equine planning issues Action: Develop a closer relationship with local authorities, and explore the possibility of providing them with training and education relating to equine planning issues, and to discuss how the differing approaches which local authorities have to horses can be harmonised.
Responsibility : The BHIC, with Government, including the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Local Authorities.
Priority : Medium-term. (b) Encourage correct and safe manure storage and disposal 6.14 The storage and disposal of horse manure is an ongoing issue for horse owners.
Some horse waste activities, such as manure spreading, are currently considered by the Environment Agency to be a low risk waste activity and are, therefore, covered by the Agency’s Low Risk initiative.51 A recent European Court of Justice ruling that livestock effluent may not be classed as a ‘waste’ when it is used as a soil fertiliser should also have beneficial effects for the horse industry and may help to reduce the controls on the storage of horse manure when used in this way. 6.15 The better dissemination of best practice and pragmatic solutions for the horse owner or business in terms of waste management needs to be a priority.
This includes increasing awareness of existing guidance to aid land- and horse-owners, such as the Environment Agency’s Pollution Prevention Guidance note for Stables, Kennels and Catteries, 52 and material produced by local authorities such as the Surrey Horse Pasture Management Project. 53 6.16 Consultation on the draft Strategy revealed a significant concern within the horse industry that the situation whereby horse manure with an agricultural origin was treated as an agricultural waste (like cattle manure) while manure from other horses was defined as a ‘controlled waste’, was ambiguous.
However, the Government confirms that this situation is soon to change.
It is intended that, from early 2006, agricultural waste will be treated as industrial waste.
This will mean that horse waste arising from agricultural premises will be subject to the same controls that already apply to similar waste arising from non-agricultural sources.
As noted above, separate arrangements exist to deal with horse waste to be used as fertiliser. 51 This initiative has been set up to identify low risk waste activities that are not exempt from waste management licensing but which do not justify enforcement.
This means that the Environment Agency (EA) takes the view that it would not be in the public interest to require a waste management licence for the activity.
It should be noted, however, that if any activity is carried out in a way likely to pollute the environment or harm human health, the EA would be obliged to consider taking enforcement action.
More information on this initiative can be found on the EA website at http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/subjects/waste/1030716/1098094/?lang=_e 52 Pollution Prevention Guidelines number 24 – Stables, Kennels and Catteries.
Www.environmentagency.gov.uk/commondata/acrobat/ppg24.pdf 53 Surrey Horse Pasture Management Project Advice Notes www.surreycc.gov.uk/horsepastureproject 82 — 90 8.5 With some notable exceptions, there is a serious shortage in marketing skill within the sector.
Where marketing does take place, it is fragmented due to the excessive number of organisations involved, many with small budgets, and the consequent confusion in the minds of potential buyers about where to go for advice and viewing.
The British Horseracing Board promotes the British Thoroughbred, at home and abroad, working with Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA), the Sales Houses and UK Trade and Investment.
The remainder of the breeding sector needs to unite, pool resources and employ professionals in order to publicise the merits and successes of their horses.
Virtual centres should be established where young stock can, even at short notice, be professionally presented, on behalf of their owners, to prospective buyers. 8.6 Many breeding organisations hold grading, evaluation and performance testing events, all using different systems.
There needs to be some standardisation in order to promote sales and marketing and help potential buyers understand the scores.
Initially this would involve no more than using the same range of marks (for example 0 -10), and the same headings (paces, conformation etc), for each characteristic assessed.
There are also opportunities for societies to share the overhead costs of evaluations by holding them at the same location on the same day.
CASE STUDY – Young Horse Evaluation Scheme The Young Horse Evaluation scheme, promoted by the BEF and South Essex Insurance Brokers, objectively assesses potential soundness, trainability, jumping ability, paces and temperament in four-year-old horses.
The evaluations: • provide data about stallions and mares to enable the earliest possible identification of good stock; • enable the development of estimated breeding values (see paragraph 8.13 below); • indicate where quality lies in individual horses; • expose the most talented young horses and provide a market for young evaluated horses; • provide information of value in subsequent training programmes; and • supply reliable material for research and development.
The work sheets are available for use by other organisations. 8.7 The TBA takes care of the needs of the racing thoroughbred breeding sector.
However, in respect of the other breeding sectors the establishment of lead bodies to assist in the improvement of the quality of horses and ponies would: • • • • • • encourage greater cooperation within and between the breeding sectors; provide a more efficient communication network between breeders, breeding organisations, competitive and recreational riders and drivers and their organisations; develop much closer links between thoroughbred and non-thoroughbred breeders; speak for the breeding industry with a single voice where appropriate; for example, when dealing with Government; provide centralised sources of breeding information and advice; enable qualified and experienced staff to be employed to undertake marketing and publicity; 91 • • • • • • • • • • • join forces with the national tourist boards to promote buying-tours of studs for potential home and overseas buyers; establish centres where quality young stock from many breeders can be professionally presented for sale; encourage market research into the requirements of buyers of sport and recreational horses and ponies, to match the knowledge already available for racehorses and native breeds; demonstrate and publicise the benefits of using proven stallions and semen over indiscriminate breeding; research the effect of introducing an industry-monitored stallion approval scheme; reduce duplication of effort between breeding organisations; offer the opportunity to develop Breeders Support Units, which could become resource and educational centres for breeders, develop ‘flagship’ breeding schemes and evaluate genetic progress, as well as facilitate work currently being carried out on a voluntary basis to improve breeding; help persuade breeding organisations of the need to introduce more standardised systems of evaluation; help publicise the successes of equines identified as having potential during evaluations, and encourage the entry of young stock for evaluation; help make best use of the National Equine Database (see Action 46 below); and publicise the benefits of the Breeders’ Quality Mark Scheme (see below) to both studs and customers, and encourage studs to join. 8.8 Such entities would need to be seen by the existing breeding organisations, with their different perspectives, as representative, non-threatening, non-partisan bodies.
Three such lead bodies are envisaged. (1) Sport Horse Lead Body (possibly British Breeding); (2) Native and Indigenous Horse and Pony Lead Body; and (3) Recreational Horse and Pony Lead Body.
Because there are issues which would concern the whole industry, there needs to be a mechanism whereby these three bodies, together with the TBA, can act in concert when the needs arise (this could perhaps be formulated through the British Horse Industry Confederation, BHIC). 8.9 In the spirit of cooperation and cost sharing, consideration should be given to the statements made in Aim 1 where a National Equine Centre is being promulgated.
Such a centre could accommodate many of the breeding organisations, whose headquarters often depends upon the location of the person currently holding the post of secretary, resulting in considerable savings in overheads and more effective working.
It could possibly provide a venue for evaluations and gradings, a central sales point for overseas buyers and offer a central attraction for those interested in the non-racing thoroughbred, the sport horse and pony and recreational horse and pony to match those in many other European countries.
Thoroughbred breeding, of course, already has a recognised centre at Newmarket. 92 ACTION 45: Lead bodies to assist in the improvement of the quality of horses and ponies Action : Establish lead bodies to assist in the improvement of the quality of horses and ponies.
Responsibility : BHIC in the first instance.
Priority : Short-term. (b) Capitalise on National Equine Database to improve breeding 8.10 The quality and performance potential of some British equines is as good as anywhere in the world.
Unfortunately, this is a small pool, which is overshadowed by many mediocre animals.
To prevent further erosion of the equine breeding industry and to recover lost ground it is essential to improve the overall quality of the national herd.
The vast expertise and experience of domestic breeders is not being best utilised as there is a tendency to act in isolation.
The solution lies in creating a comprehensive national data source, containing breeding and performance information, through which all can benefit from each other’s experiences. 8.11 The National Equine Database (NED) is a collaborative project between Defra and the horse industry.
It will provide a central source of reliable information on horses bred, owned or registered in the UK.
From 2006, information should be available to the public online.
Buyers, sellers and breeders will have one-stop access to a horse’s name and any previous name, registration number, breed, sex, age, height and pedigree together with any competition evaluation and grading results.
Breed societies, stud books, competition disciplines and other responsible bodies will supply verified pedigree, performance, evaluation and grading (PPEG) information on a voluntary basis.
Government is providing the bulk of the funding required to establish NED and to manage the processes involved, with the equine industry making a significant contribution through participation in the planning process, providing professional advice, contributing data and in terms of public relations and publicity.
When fully established, the NED organisation will need to be self-financing to cover servicing and development costs.
Revenue will be derived from the sale of data, with an on-going contribution from Defra to cover its interests in the maintenance of the core data system.
Other benefits of the Database are that it will help to provide more accurate information on the size and shape of the equine industry, assist with equine welfare in the identification of keepers of abandoned animals and deterring theft (when used in conjunction with microchipping) and demonstrating the UK’s compliance with EU passport legislation. 8.12 For the Database to succeed fully in providing data to support improvements in equine breeding, it is essential that the industry bodies called on to provide voluntarily PPEG information actually do so.
It is equally important that the much heralded system of Unique Equine Life Numbers (UELNs) is introduced as quickly as possible. 8.13 In addition to its benefits for individual breeders, purchasers of horses and commercial and research and teaching bodies, the National Equine Database provides opportunities for the breeding sector as a whole.
It will be a source of 93 information to enable Estimated Breeding Values of stallions and mares to be calculated.
This will allow both casual and professional breeders to compare the breeding value of animals and facilitate informed decisions which should help reduce indiscriminate breeding from unsuitable animals.
NED will contain verified pedigree and performance information for breeding animals, their ancestors and offspring and will lead to more informed marketing processes.
NED will also inform research currently being undertaken to detect genetic defects manifested during training and competition.
ACTION 46: Capitalise upon the data contained in NED Action : Use information available from NED to: better select animals for breeding, develop a simple system for comparing the breeding values of mares and stallions; collate and market pedigree and performance data; provide data to support the marketing of horses and ponies and work being undertaken to eliminate genetic defects; and make evaluation scores widely known.
Responsibility : New lead bodies to improve breeding (see Action 45).
Priority : Commencing in the short-term with the final outcome being long-term. (c) Raise standards in studs 8.14 Whilst acknowledging the efficiency of many studs, there is concern that others are working to lower standards, without relevant policies in place and are unable to provide basic elements of record keeping to support their ambitions as studs.
The recently introduced Breeders’ Quality Mark Scheme offers an opportunity to rectify this situation by setting standards.
The breeding industry needs to rally around the scheme and cooperate in its introduction as a common industry standard across all four of the sectors.
This is a further opportunity for cooperation between bodies, led by their respective lead bodies.
CASE STUDY – Breeders’ Quality Mark Scheme The British Equestrian Federation, through British Breeding, has introduced a voluntary scheme with the objective of giving added confidence to those breeding and/or purchasing horses and ponies and increasing the marketability of such horses/ponies and semen.
This is achieved by recognising and improving the quality of record-keeping and disease and accident prevention on studs.
Which in turn gives breeders further acknowledgement of their skill and increases the validity of their breeding data.
Those studs achieving the standards set are entitled to display the Breeder’s Quality Mark on their stationery, in advertising material and as a wall plaque. 94 To customers the quality mark is proof that the stud has met the standards considered by Federation to be prerequisite for the operation of premises where the health, welfare and reproductive efficiency of the breeding stock are paramount; and where every effort will be made to ensure that the mare/stallion/foal will return home free from disease and injury and that prompt and appropriate veterinary attention will have been sought where necessary.
To studs it means that they have an added marketing tool in that it can be reasonably expected that customers will look more favourably on studs sporting the logo on their stationery and in their advertisements.
However, it does come with a cost in that to obtain the Quality Mark studs must reach and maintain the high standards set.
These include complying with the appropriate Horserace Betting Levy Board and British Equine Veterinary Association guidelines and the keeping of detailed records for resident and visiting horses and ponies, and, if applicable, the production, handling and shipping of fresh, chilled and frozen semen. 8.15 When a horse or pony succeeds in the competition ring, the rider is acknowledged, the animal’s name becomes recognised, and the sponsor also generally receives publicity.
However, unlike on the racecourse, rarely are the breeder and trainer acknowledged and the breeding stated.
This is disheartening for the breeder, without whose work the others in the chain would not have had their glory.
Moreover, quality breeders with only a few mares often have to sell horses as youngsters at relatively low prices, because their business cannot afford to support them until they are old enough to begin serious training and demonstrate their value.
Additional incentives are required for breeders, especially smaller ones, so as to retain their expertise and maintain the overall gene pool.
The Horserace Betting Levy Board’s Breeders’ Prizes Scheme for thoroughbreds could provide a model for developing an incentive scheme for the non-thoroughbred sector.
Similar schemes are to be found in other countries where cash incentives are paid to, or stud fees paid for, those owners who only have a small number of quality mares which they are prepared to mate with top quality stallions.
CASE STUDY – State Premium Mares In Germany, Hanover and several other states run a scheme for small breeders, in which top quality mares are awarded the prefix StPrSt (state premium mare) in the front of their name for life.
These recognised state premium mares always command a high price when they come on the market.
ACTION 47: Recognition of quality mares Action : Determine agreed criteria as to what qualifies a mare (other than racing thoroughbred mares) to be rated ‘Premium’.
Initiate a Premium Mare Designation.
Establish Premium Mare evaluation programmes Responsibility : The three proposed non-thoroughbred Lead Bodies acting together.
Priority : Short-term.
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