The Equine Disease Coalition is proposing a 'Voluntary Equine Animals Trading Scheme' (VEATS) in an effort to regularise the buying and selling of horses by 'dealers'. Scheme's members would need to adopt high animal health and welfare standards on their premises linked to fool-proof identification and good records. The overall aim of the scheme is to increase the country's level of preparedness for a major equine disease outbreak through focusing on one key risk area.
The Coalition plans to work closely with a number of authorities such as Government Departments and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency. BEVA is represented on the Coalition by our President, Ben Mayes.
A consultation has just been launched for views about VEATS, which is a voluntary and self-funded scheme. In addition to raising standards of animal health and welfare within the horse industry, it is hoped the scheme will allow people to feel more reassured when buying horses. BEVA members will be aware that there have been concerns for some time about problems associated with the purchase of horses from 'dealers' with evidence in the past of animals being given fraudulent identities and others affected with disease which gives the horse trade a bad name.
There are a number of very specific conditions that members of VEATS would need to meet, which include:
- Horses on the registered premises must meet scheme standards at all times and will be subject to independent audit
- Each member must nominate a veterinary practice that will be involved with the care of the horses on the registered premises
- All horses on the registered premises must be identified by a passport and microchip
- The member may only sell animals in the scheme that are in good health and show no signs of illness
- Members of the scheme will be expected to advise their nominated veterinary practice should animals on their premises show signs of illness- the scheme gives examples of the symptoms that should be reported
- The nominated veterinary practice may be involved with the audit of the premises and with the preparation of routine reports.
Further information and the opportunity to comment on VEATS they will find the details on World Horse Welfare's website at: www.worldhorsewelfare.org/contact/veatsconsultation
 The Equine Disease Coalition was established in 2010 and is made up of representatives from BEVA, the Animal Health Trust, Cambridge University, Defra, Horse Trust, RSPCA and World Horse Welfare
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