Deal finalised over Olympic horses bound for Brazil – report

Aerial shots of the Olympic Equestrian Centre at Deodoro taken at the beginning of July. Photo: Renato Sette Camara / City Hall of Rio de Janeiro
An aerial shot of the Olympic Equestrian Centre at Deodoro taken at the beginning of July. Photo: Renato Sette Camara / City Hall of Rio de Janeiro

Brazil and the European Union have reportedly settled biosecurity-related arrangements that will allow the passage of sport horses in and out of Rio de Janiero for next year’s Olympics.

However, details of any deal have yet to be posted on website of the Olympic Public Authority in Brazil, or the main Games website,  Details of the deal are expected to be released this week.

The issue made headlines early in October when the head of the Brazilian Equestrian Confederation, Luiz Roberto Giugni, suggested that delays in documents being issued by the country’s Ministry of Agriculture could ultimately jeopardize Olympic equestrian events being held there.

The world governing body for horse sport, the FEI, moved to assure stakeholders a few days later, saying it was confident that all formal approvals would be in place to allow horses to travel to and from Brazil.

FEI president Ingmar De Vos said his organisation had been working for some time with Rio2016, the Brazilian and Rio Authorities, and the Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture to get the required veterinary certificate and protocol approved that would define the conditions for the movement of horses in and out of Brazil for the Games.

He said the process had taken a lot of time, but he had expected the necessary certification from Brazilian agriculture authorities to be issued soon.

Officials in Brazil have instituted a range of biosecurity measures ahead of the Games. The Deodoro Olympic equestrian venue, Rio de Janeiro Airport and the corridor in between have been set up as a separate biosecurity region to minimise the disease risk to horses.

The zone is designed to allow the safe passage of horses to the Games venue and then back to their countries of origin.

Implementation of the zone involves the removal of all horses from the Deodoro venue 180 days before the Games. This was also done in the lead-up to a test event there earlier this year.

The biosecurity requirements are necessary because several horse diseases are endemic in the region, including glanders, a dangerous bacterial infection.

A weekend report out of Brazil has quoted the head of the Olympic Public Authority, Marcelo Pedroso, as saying that European regulations for sending horses abroad would be accepted at Rio 2016.

The EU arrangement will cover most of the 300 horses expected in Brazil for the Games.

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