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Defra confirm funding withdrawal for NED
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and revenue generated by public use of the site is not enough to support the system, the services provided will be withdrawn from the 30th September.

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New DNA testing scheme for Labradors

News Story 1
 The Kennel Club has approved a new DNA testing scheme for hereditary nasal parakeratosis (HNPK) in Labrador retrievers. Announcing the news, Kennel Club secretary Caroline Kisko, said: "The Labrador is the most popular breed of dog in the UK, so ensuring that the resources are available for breeders to make informed breeding decisions is paramount.

"We are pleased to be announcing this new DNA test for the breed, which will assist in responsible breeding and enable potential puppy buyers to be aware of an issue which could affect their chosen breed, and ultimately protect and maintain the health of the breed."

A list of the laboratories the Kennel Club accepts results from can be found here: thekennelclub.org.uk  

News Shorts
Prion diseases 'should remain national research priority'

Professor Neil Mabbott, a group leader at the Roslin Institute, has written about the importance of further research into prion diseases in the journal PLoS Pathogens.

Prion diseases remain untreatable but research over the past 10 years has shed light on how prion proteins are transmitted and has allowed preventative measures to be adopted.

Prof Mabbott said there is a clear need for further research into how prions spread from the gut to the brain, causing irreversible damage, and for this knowledge to be translated into therapies.