• 17 April 2014

AHT Infectious Disease Group receives NEF commendation

The Animal Health Trust (AHT) Infectious Disease Group received the Sir Colin Spedding Award at the National Equine Forum (NEF) on Thursday 6th March 2014.

This special commendation was given in recognition of the AHT’s outstanding work on disease research, surveillance and management, to help protect and safeguard the future of every one of the UK’s horses and ponies. It was received by Dr Andrew Waller, Head of Bacteriology at the AHT, on behalf of the Group.

The Animal Health Trust has been providing veterinary services to the equestrian industry for more than 60 years. Although its leading scientific research and surgical expertise are world-renowned, the work of the AHT Infectious Disease Group is less publically known but no less laudable.

The AHT’s Infectious Disease group comprises a team of outstanding scientists and vets that watch over the UK’s horses day and night, 365 days a year. They operate the centre of excellence that supplies the detail and data to help the nation’s veterinary surgeons and research analysts make the right decisions. They also provide the expertise that could well save the nation’s horses, especially in the event of a catastrophic outbreak of any of the serious infectious diseases that could so easily find their way to the UK’s shores.

Tim Brigstocke, Chairman of the NEF said: “The National Equine Forum is proud to recognise the members of the AHT’s Equine Disease Group as the heroes they are today. Equine disease poses a growing threat to all of our horses, which makes the work of the AHT Group ever more important, and hence we wanted to take this opportunity to say thank you.”

Dr Andrew Waller, Head of Bacteriology at the Animal Health Trust, said: “I am delighted to accept the Sir Colin Spedding Award on behalf of the AHT’s Infectious Disease Group. The Group has made a number of significant breakthroughs in the diagnosis, surveillance, containment and treatment of a number of equine ‘nasties’ commonly seen in the UK including equine influenza, Strangles and equine herpesvirus. In addition, we regularly provide advice to the UK equine industry on the threats posed from exotic equine disease. Our work has considerably improved the health and welfare of horses internationally and we are grateful that the National Equine Forum has acknowledged the important role we play in protecting horses from infectious disease.”

The Sir Colin Spedding Award was established in 2013. The bronze sculpture of a stag beetle by Belinda Sillars was originally to have been awarded to the late Professor Sir Colin Spedding, in recognition of his services to the equine sector – most especially for his extraordinary commitment in founding the National Equine Forum and then being Chair of the Forum for 19 years.

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