The NEWC Annual General Meeting was held at the British Horseracing Authority on 18 April 2013
Sponsored by the British Horseracing Authority this day included two excellent speakers:
- Professor Jacqueline Matthews BVMS PhD MRCVS Head of Disease Control & Principal Veterinary Parasitologist at the Moredun Research Institute, Edinburgh EH26 0PZ http://www.moredun.org.uk/ - who spoke on the subject of ‘Mitigating dewormer resistance in horses: the way forward’.
- Natalie Sim MRCVS School of Veterinary Medicine, University of Glasgow – who spoke on the subject of ‘Awareness and Attitude of the Equine Industry Towards an Unwanted Horse Population in the UK’.
Chairman, Nicolas De Brauwere outlined the achievements and performance of NEWC over the last year and for the year ahead:-
- The past 12 months have proven very challenging for those serving on the NEWC Management Board. Like all other people working for the NEWC member organisations, the last 12 months have proven to be as challenging as we all feared. In addition to the financial pressures placed on everyone we are truly in the midst of very sad times for equine welfare. Significant numbers of equines are in need of help and regrettably there are simply not enough suitable homes for these animals to go to. NEWC members have again gone ‘above and beyond’ to help as many animals as possible but even this is not enough. In addition to large numbers of investigations into cruelty and neglect, almost invariably leading to animals needing to be taken into care; significant numbers of equines have been abandoned, typically when efforts are made to identify the owners of fly-grazed equines, leaving land owners responsible for large numbers of equines.
- Together NEWC and its members have worked very hard to raise awareness of the severity of the situation as well as press for changes that could prevent recurrence of the problems. The short term challenges of helping the animals in need are the most distressing for those at the coalface but the collective understanding and mature debate that has been a feature of the discussions held through NEWC will undoubtedly help us come up with viable longer term solutions.
- It has been rewarding to see how different members have come up with new ways to help more equines and through our various meetings these ideas have been shared with great generosity to ensure best practice spreads throughout our small community.
- In other areas, as a result of our presence at the ISES Conference in Edinburgh in July 2012, NEWC has received very good support from the international equine behaviour and training community, both for the Compendium and NEWC’s role in facilitating partnership working.
- Progress on achieving a formal legal status for NEWC has been steady and the process should be completed during the summer of 2013.
The Year Ahead:-
- NEWC will still need to concentrate on the ‘Equine Crisis’ for the foreseeable future. It is important that NEWC members make use of the revamped NEWC website to help raising awareness of the issue as well as hopefully with responsibly rehoming as many equines as possible. The website is also underutilised by members to promote their activities and vacancies. NEWC will work to improve the benefits we can bring to our members but also need members to engage with the opportunities available through NEWC.
- Completion of the transition into a formal legal entity is a priority to open up opportunities for NEWC to meet the objectives in our Strategic Plan.
- NEWC has been given a fantastic opportunity to move into new offices which will save a considerable amount from our budget.
- We need to tackle delivery of the objectives in our Strategic Plan with vigour over the next 12 months, for which we will again be grateful for support from our members to make sure NEWC develops in the way that is most helpful to its current and future membership.
- It is time to formally begin reviewing the Compendium to develop its content and ensure it remains a relevant and useful document for the equine industry.