Hot topics on the menu at BETA Feed Industry Conference

BETA feed assurance schemes topped the menu at the British Equestrian Trade Association’s sixth annual Feed Industry Conference on 22 March. A diverse audience of 123 delegates, representing many of the UK’s equine feed and supplement companies, arrived at the Windmill Village Hotel, near Coventry, to hear the latest news and developments in this rapidly changing sector.

“The conference was a tremendous success and we saw plenty of new faces, perhaps reflecting the growth in our feed membership,” said BETA executive director Claire Williams. “It was the first time we have held the event at this venue and we were extremely pleased – even though our large number of delegates threatened to outgrow it from Day One.”

Karen Pratt, of the Food Standards Agency, was first off the mark, setting the scene with a detailed update on animal feed legislation. Representatives from the world of equestrian sport shared their own perspectives on medication control. John McEwen, of the FEI (Fédération Equestre Internationale) took a look at the approach to rules and regulations surrounding doping, while Dr Lynn Hillyer, veterinary adviser to the British Horseracing Authority, followed suit by focusing on racing’s anti-doping rules.
Solicitor James Pheasant, of Burges Salmon, provided a legal perspective on prohibited substances and analyst and toxicologist Dr Mark Dunnett, of IEN, revealed the findings of his NOPS testing review, which ran from June 2015 to March 2016.

Hannah Adams, of BETA NOPS scheme auditors KIWI PAI, provided a summary of non-conformances, while BETA executive director Claire Williams put the same subject under the spotlight, focusing on the changes to the code such as pre-requisite schemes, classifications and substance inclusions and exclusions.

Dr Pat Harris took to the podium to lead two presentations – the Advancing Equine Scientific Excellence initiative, part of the British Equestrian Federation’s equine development portfolio, which, as its name suggests, seeks to advance scientific excellence through collaboration between members of the equine industry, research institutes, colleges and universities. She also examined the issue of gastric ulceration in horses and ponies, looking at whether nutrition could be considered the cause or cure for this painful condition.

This led smoothly into Dengie nutritionist Katie Williams’s presentation introducing BETA’s latest feed approval mark, which has been devised for products suitable for equines prone to equine gastric ulcer syndrome (EGUS).

The conference is open to everyone who works in the feed industry, including manufacturers, distributors, retailers, nutritionists and university lecturers. “Our topical presentations and expert speakers, coupled with fantastic networking opportunities, has seen the conference become an essential event on the business calendar,” said Claire Williams.