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and revenue generated by public use of the site is not enough to support the system, the services provided will be withdrawn from the 30th September.

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Dog fighting: RSPCA calls for tougher penalties

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 The RSPCA says it investigated 511 calls about organised dog fighting last year. The figures were released ahead of a cross-party debate on the issue in Westminster on 29 June. The charity hopes to see MPs lending their support to tougher sentencing for this crime. In Northern Ireland, perpetrators face up to five years in prison, whereas in England and Wales the maximum is six months. 

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BVA joins coalition to eradicate BVD in England

The BVA has joined the 70-strong coalition of organisations that are pushing to eradicate bovine viral diarrhoea (BVD) in England.

The BVDFree campaign launches on 1 July and is England's first national scheme to eradicate the disease from all cattle herds.

Made up of organisations from the veterinary profession, industry, science sector and government, BVDFree offers farmers and vets the chance to work together to improve animal welfare and farm efficiency.

Utilising social media the campaign will make use of easy-to-remember techniques, such as ADAM (Assess the level of biosecurity and disease risk on farm; Define the BVD status of your herd; Action plan for control of BVD put in place; Monitor progress - annual status check).