Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal took part in a special podcast as part of the On Farm series (www.podfollow.com/onfarm) to launch a new research drive to shed new light on equine grass sickness, an often fatal disease of horses.
The Moredun Foundation (TMF) and The Equine Grass Sickness Fund (EGSF) have joined forces to launch an innovative three-year research Fellowship to take a fresh look at equine grass sickness and adopt a collaborative multi-disciplinary approach bringing together horse owners and researchers. HRH The Princess Royal is patron for both charities.
HRH The Princess Royal said, “I think that for Moredun to launch a Research Fellowship as part of its centenary and to choose to do so on equine grass sickness is pretty significant given their history, background and success in so many areas with livestock and diseases and I am delighted to launch this new Fellowship for equine grass sickness at Moredun”.
Equine grass sickness (EGS) is a devastating disease of horses and research started in the 1920s when the disease was causing the deaths of many working horses on farms. One hundred years later and the cause(s) remains elusive, but the consensus is that it is likely to be multi-factorial. There are no treatments or vaccines to prevent disease and around 80% of horses contracting the disease do not survive.
Anne Logan, Chair of the Equine Grass Sickness Fund said, “It is a very exciting time for the Equine Grass Sickness Fund and we are delighted to be working with Moredun to take a fresh look at the disease through the work of the new Fellow and to develop a new database and biobank of samples as a valuable research resource going forward”.
The new research Fellow will be based at the Moredun Research Institute and will spearhead the development of a new database and sample biobank to enable research to progress and encourage new thinking and inter-disciplinary collaborations.
Horse owners are being encouraged to take part in the project by becoming “EGS detectives” to raise awareness about the disease in their area, helping to report cases and submit samples for the research biobank.
Professor Lee Innes, Moredun Research Institute said, “We are delighted to be launching this new research initiative bringing together horse owners and researchers to progress our knowledge and understanding of this devastating disease. Moredun has a long and proud history of working in close collaboration with livestock farmers to help develop solutions to combat disease and we are keen to apply this model of collaboration to help tackle equine grass sickness”.
The Moredun Foundation celebrated its centenary in 2020 and as part of this landmark achievement, The Foundation is developing new opportunities for early career research fellows to work on bringing in new ideas and thinking to help find solutions for diseases of animals.
Ross Montague, presenter of the On Farm podcast commented, “I am delighted we have been able to work with Moredun and the Equine Grass Sickness Fund to raise awareness of grass sickness and hopefully raise funds to help with the new research fellowship”.