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Horses: Databases

Volume 459: debated on Friday 20 April 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he expects (a) the information from the National Equine Database to be available to members of the public and (b) members of the public to be able to retrieve (i) statistics on the number of racehorses slaughtered each year, (ii) the ages of racehorses at the time of slaughter and (iii) the reasons for the slaughter of racehorses. (131245)

The National Equine Database (NED) was developed to hold centrally the information confined in horse passports. This is to prevent theft and aid the early recovery of horses and, in terms of veterinary surveillance, help control equine disease outbreaks.

The NED system has been enhanced to hold pedigree, performance, evaluation and grading information on each horse born or resident in the UK with a passport. The enhanced system will be called NED Online and will be available for the public to use. Some of the information will be free and some will be available for a fee, although horse owner names and addresses are confidential to the Government. Currently, when a horse is slaughtered, basic equine identification information is collected including the passport issuing body (for racehorses this would be Weatherbys) and submitted to NED. However, not all horses with a Weatherbys passport race.

As NED Online develops, its facilities will continue to improve in line with users’ requirements. However, there are no plans as yet to enable members of the public to retrieve details of slaughtered racehorses.