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Defra confirm funding withdrawal for NED
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The National Equine Database will close in September

It has been confirmed by Defra that funding for the National Equine Database (NED) will be discontinued and the system will be closed down at the end of September this year.

NED manages data from passport issuing organisations on behalf of the Government. The NED Online public website has been live since 2008 and an increasing number of users visit the site every day to search for horses, check passports and to report horses as lost, stolen and recovered.

Earlier in the year a tendering process for a new central equine database was initiated by the Government and companies were invited to submit bids. However, Defra decided that on the basis of a cost benefit analysis of the bids submitted in conjunction with the benefits of and need for a central system, the contract would not be awarded to any of the bidders and that no new central, Defra funded database would exist.

BEF’s Chief Executive, Andrew Finding, said: “Given the challenges of public expenditure we understand Defra’s decision, it is sad that they have decided not to continue to fund NED Ltd. We welcome their commitment to maintain and strengthen the requirements for Passport Issuing Organisations and address the serious issues of abandoned and fly-grazed horses and the introduction of additional measures to improve the quality and robustness of passports to protect the human food chain.”

As funding will be ceased and revenue generated by public use of the site is not enough to support the system, the services provided will be withdrawn from the 30th September.

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News Shorts
Vets required to help test BPEX's Real Welfare app

Veterinary surgeons are being asked to help test the Real Welfare smartphone app, developed by BPEX - a division of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

The app will eventually replace the bureau service, which is used for data submission on real welfare assessments carried out on pig farms. These assessments are required for compliance with the food assurance scheme, Red Tractor.

While the app is already being tested in the field, BPEX still needs a few more vets to trial it. Regular submissions of data are required but vets taking part in the trials will be paid for their time.

Project manager Katja Stoddart said: "It has been a long and sometimes difficult journey but the app is now performing well on both platforms and we are receiving positive feedback from those using it. That does not mean there are no problems but those that do crop up are now minor and can easily be dealt with."

The bureau service has been extended to the end of the year and vets will need to switch to the app before the bureau closes. Katja explained that the portal will remain open so vets can do their assessments on paper then transfer using a computer, but long-term it will be quicker and easier to use the app for inputting data in real time.

"This will also mean the data is available immediately for the vet to discuss with the producer," she added.