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Animal Health Trust, based in Kentford, to close

Kentford's world-renowned Animal Health Trust is to close.

In March the AHT made the shock announcement it was facing closure following a period of 'dire financial constraint', but hopes had been raised the charity could continue if it shut its equine and small animal referral clinics.

But today the trust announced it would be shutting. "It is with deep regret that today we have announced to our colleagues that the Animal Health Trust's board of trustees have concluded the trust needs to close and next week will formally begin the process to wind up the AHT," a spokesman said.

The Animal Health Trust, in Kentford (37777721)
The Animal Health Trust, in Kentford (37777721)

"The decision to cease operations has been reached after several months of trying to secure funding. Although substantial progress was made, the charity has been unable to secure the significant funds it needs to have a long-term viable future."

For many years the AHT, which employed more than 250 staff and celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2017, had been at the forefront of work in cats and dogs, but it is its association with the equine world for which it was perhaps most widely known.

Its surveillance networks for diseases such as strangles and equine influenza were vital to the UK’s multi billion-pound horse racing industry.

It holds DNA samples for every thoroughbred registered in the UK. It also houses the UK’s largest canine genome bank, which holds the entire genomes of 89 dogs from 77 breeds, which it used to tackle inherited diseases.