The International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) describes this week’s endorsement of the “high health, high performance horse” (HHP) concept by the key global animal health body as a significant decision for international racing.
The vote was taken by members of the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris.
Representatives from 178 countries attending the General Session of the World Assembly of OIE Delegates gave the concept a resounding green light.
The federation said it appreciated recent steps undertaken by members of the OIE toward allowing the temporary international movement of horses for competition.
The HHP concept, when implemented, will act as the blueprint for chief veterinary officers of nations to work closely with each other to harmonise and safeguard the temporary international movement of high performance racehorses and sport horses when attending top international competitions.
The federation said it recognized this was the first step in an on-going process, with additional work necessary to agree the details for implementation of the adopted principles.
The endorsement of the HHP concept by the OIE delegates was a significant decision for international racing and further underscored the mutually beneficial affiliation between the OIE and federation, it said.
It noted that the ratification of the HHP concept followed the November 2013 formation by the FEI and the IFHA of the International Horse Sports Confederation (IHSC) – the first formal vehicle for co-operation between the world’s leading governing bodies for equestrian sport.
Advancing and improving the international movement of horses is among the confederation’s core objectives.
“The decision of the OIE to endorse the HHP is momentous and I applaud the collective work put forth by OIE, FEI, and IFHA,” said IFHA chairman Louis Romanet.
“The HHP recognizes that top equine athletes, when managed under practical scientific guidelines set forth by the OIE, represent a lower risk in movement internationally.
“The IFHA looks forward to working even more closely with the OIE and FEI in furthering the HHP concept to become accepted regulation by chief veterinary officers and governments throughout the world.”
FEI president Princess Haya, who also IHSC president, said: “This is a landmark development in global access to equestrian sport. It means our athletes, who are working so hard to represent their countries at key international events, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games, have the opportunity do so in future with practical and safe horse movement approaches from governments around the world.
“We are extremely grateful to everyone within the OIE, FEI and the racing world, who have seen the necessity for this, and have dedicated themselves to enhancing horse sport and further opening up the economic benefits for communities working with horses.
“We’re now looking forward to the job ahead, and to working to create the conditions necessary for success.
OIE director general Dr Bernard Vallat said: “We have worked with the FEI for over 10 years to identify practical national veterinary requirements, and we have recently advanced further quickly, presenting government experts around the world with solutions to meet their specific requirements based on the OIE principle of compartmentalisation and harnessing our public-private partnership.
“Our members fully understood the need for finding a way to better recognise the lower risk of moving such highly supervised horses within OIE Standards, and the HHP concept does that.
“There has also been a recognition of the economic impact of the equine industry and this concept will allow countries to tap into the potential income associated with increasing numbers of FEI and horse racing events.”