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and revenue generated by public use of the site is not enough to support the system, the services provided will be withdrawn from the 30th September.

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Pirbright student wins top award

News Story 1
 A student studying for his PhD at the Pirbright Institute has been honoured for his research on egg anti-viral proteins which could lead to a major step forward in vaccine production rates.

Tom Whitehead was named Young Innovator of the Year at the Guildford Innovation Awards on Wednesday (22nd February).

Working with scientists at The Pirbright Institute, Tom identified the family of antiviral proteins which generate the embryo's anti-viral immune response. His research demonstrated that restricting the activity of these proteins enables the levels of virus to increase.  

News Shorts
Collaboration to improve animal disaster preparedness in California

Animal rescue specialist Jim Green has joined the University of California Davis's Centre for Equine Health, for a one-year collaboration to support major advances in disaster preparedness. Recent weather conditions in California have led to declarations of emergencies in 50 out of 58 counties and there is growing concern about pets and livestock safety in light of increased wildfires and floods.

Disaster plans are in place for human and property safety but UC Davis says there is a critical lack of funding and standardisation for animal disaster planning. Mr Green has created and implemented programmes for the UK Fire and Rescue Service, to educate and integrate first responders and vets. He will coordinate with the university and local and state emergency response stakeholders in California.