Strict new measures for Equestrian Australia (EA) certified events have been introduced under a new policy released by EA on Tuesday 1 July. The policy will require EA event organisers to complete a questionnaire during the event planning stages. The questionnaire will determine if the event requires classification as a ‘Hendra vaccinated event’.
Hendra classified events held in New South Wales and Queensland, which the EA by-law defines as the endemic region, will require all attending horses to be vaccinated against the Hendra virus.
Hendra classified events held in Victoria, South Australia, Western Australia, Tasmania, the Northern Territory and the ACT, which the EA by-law defines as the non-endemic region, will only require horses travelling from the endemic regions of NSW and Queensland to be Hendra vaccinated.
Animal Health Australia Executive Manager Biosecurity, Duncan Rowland, said EA’s policy decision marks a major turning point in protecting valuable horses from the virus.
“The Hendra virus is a zoonotic disease, meaning it can be transferred from horses to humans, which originated in flying fox populations in north-eastern Australia. Although the transmission is rare, a number of cases of humans contracting the disease have been recorded with a 50 per cent fatality rate, highlighting how important it is to get on top of this disease. That’s why EA’s introduction of this new policy is timely, given the recent outbreaks in northern NSW.
“The virus is easily transmissible between horses and infected animals must be destroyed. Outbreaks can potentially cause significant financial losses, particularly for commercial equine operations. This is just another reason why the disease needs careful and considerate management.
“Competitors should familiarise themselves with EA’s policy and then go to the Farm Biosecurity horse industry page. Venue owners and operators should also download the Horse Venue Biosecurity Workbook,” said Mr Rowland.
For full details on EA’s new policy visit www.equestrian.org.au.