New BETA Feed Mark for equines prone to EGUS

A new feed approval mark has been developed by the British Equestrian Trade Association – in consultation with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate – to help owners identify feeds suitable for horses and ponies prone to equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS).

BETA’s decision to introduce the mark was taken following the move by regulatory organisations to permit use of the term “prone to” only when referring to laminitis. This excluded other equine conditions, such as gastric ulcers, where feeding also plays a key role in its management.

The scheme is open to all manufacturers and they are invited – whether or not they are BETA members – to put forward products for inclusion. Nutritional supplements, however, are excluded.

All feeds submitted for approval must fall into one of two categories: A – a compound complementary feed that provides a balanced diet when fed at a rate stated by the manufacturer; B – feedstuff typically advised to help manage horses prone to EGUS, including chopped or high-fibre feeds and sugar beet, or alternative energy sources to cereals such as high oil concentrates.

Approval is granted if an application passes a three-stage process, which includes the examination of ingredients, labelling, marketing claims and independent laboratory analysis.

Once admitted to the scheme, members will be entitled to use the distinctive BETA logo, featuring on packaging the wording: “Suitable for equines prone to gastric ulcers as part of a balanced diet.” A compulsory notice of information must also appear stressing that the product does not treat or cure gastric ulcers, along with advice on the management of horses and ponies prone to this painful condition.

The BETA feed mark is not designed to endorse products containing ingredients purported to reduce the risk of ulcers. Any feed making such claims will be excluded, whether or not it fulfils other criteria. A product’s approved status will be reviewed on an annual basis.

Full details of the fee schedule and application process are available from the BETA office, telephone 01937 587062 or email laurac@beta-int.com

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