Jo and World Horse Welfare colleagues first became concerned about the growing threat of equine infectious disease as a result of ongoing field investigations; which uncovered many cases where horses showing clear symptoms of disease were being mixed with no due care and attention, with healthy animals at many different locations. This threat, and the concern that a serious outbreak of disease may occur, with the potential to cause a great deal of suffering to the horses involved, as well damage to the horse industry; resulted in a number of communications to officials to highlight this growing concern. Unfortunately in 2010 the UK suffered its first case of Equine Infectious Anaemia since 1976.
With solid evidence collated from the field, desk research and information from horse owners, vets and industry representatives in the UK and across Europe, it was clear this problem was not going away and action was needed to provide solutions. Jo came up with the idea of producing an educational pack, aimed at providing horse or yard owners with important information about how to protect the horses in their care from the threat of disease. The Keeping Your Horse Healthy pack has proven to be a success with horse owners, colleges, veterinary practices, other equine charities, enforcement agencies and among many others in the UK, Romania and other countries.
At the same time as developing the pack, Jo made a recommendation to develop a coalition to identify and tackle the key issues and threats associated with the spread of disease. The disease coalition now includes a number of leading experts, organisations and policy makers and is currently working on plans to help protect UK horses.