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Equine Research Coordination Group Sets Goals for Progress

American Association of Equine Practitioners

The Equine Research Coordination Group (ERCG), a group comprised of researchers and organizations that support equine research, has agreed upon and announced objectives for the coming year. “It’s time to focus on the future of equine research,” said Nathaniel White, II, DVM, chairman of the American Association of Equine Practitioners (AAEP) Foundation Advisory Committee. “Funding quality equine research and promoting the need for more researchers must become a priority for the industry if we are to stay on top of the growing health needs of horses worldwide.”

Comprised of various interested groups and researchers, the ERCG has been meeting at least once annually to consider cooperative equine research efforts. This group of individuals and organizations came together in April 2006 in Lexington, Ky., at the Equine Research Summit. Participants in the research summit agreed that there is a lack of adequate funding for future research, insufficient numbers of new researchers engaged in equine research, and a need for increased horse owner and public education about the cost of technology needed for research. To help educate the public and collaborate to increase industry recognition of the problem, members of the ERCG met during Summer 2006 to strategize about how to meet the needs for future equine research.

Because ERCG members either fund or conduct research already, the ERCG will not fund research but will facilitate the education of the equine industry, general public and government agencies about the need to increase research for the long-term benefit of horses and horse owners.

Participating in the ERCG are: Nat White, II, DVM (AAEP Foundation); Ed Bowen (Grayson Jockey Club Research Foundation); Patty Olson, DVM, Ph.D. (Morris Animal Foundation); Wayne McIlwraith, BVSc, Ph.D. (Colorado State University); Rustin Moore, DVM (The Ohio State University); Dick Mansmann, VMD, Ph.D. (North Carolina State University); Eleanor Green, DVM (University of Florida); Ernie Bailey, Ph.D. (Maxwell H.Gluck Equine Research Center); Catherine Kohn, VMD (US Equestrian Federation); Greg Ferraro, DVM (University of California – Davis); Jim Moore, DVM (University of Georgia); and staff members from the American Horse Council and the AAEP.

The ERCG adopted the following mission statement:

“To advance the health and welfare of horses by promoting the discovery and sharing of new knowledge, enhancing awareness of the need for targeted research, educating the public, expanding fundraising opportunities, and facilitating cooperation among funding agencies.”

In addition, the group identified and adopted the following five specific objectives:

- Increase funding for equine research.
- Provide education about the importance and benefits of funding equine research.
- Coordination of research information within the equine research community.
- Explore opportunities for joint funding of equine research projects.
- Identify the current needs of researchers and the research community.

In an effort to support the work of this group and to take a lead in the coordination effort, the AAEP will hire a part-time staff person to work specifically on ERCG projects. The ERCG plans to meet again in early December, during the AAEP 52nd Annual Convention in San Antonio, Texas.

The American Association of Equine Practitioners, headquartered in Lexington, Ky., was founded in 1954 as a non-profit organization dedicated to the health and welfare of the horse. Currently, the AAEP reaches more than 5 million horse owners through its 9,000 members worldwide and is actively involved in ethics issues, practice management, research and continuing education in the equine veterinary profession and horse industry.