Room for improvement in event biosecurity, says FEI’s Veterinary Committee

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Multiple areas where biosecurity can be improved at events have been identified by the FEI Veterinary Committee.

The committee, in its annual report released ahead of the annual FEI General Assembly in Bahrain next month, noted that several outbreaks of equine herpesvirus had occurred during the year and had even led to the cancellation of events.

The FEI’s Veterinary Department had monitored the situation with national head veterinarians and other horse industry stakeholders, and had also communicated guidelines.

“Further to the outbreaks, the Veterinary Department has evaluated six events from a biosecurity perspective and come to the conclusion that there are multiple needs for improvements to ensure a high level of biosecurity,” it said.

The committee noted that a Glanders outbreak in Turkey in 2017 resulted in the European Commission revoking the agreement that allowed horses from that country to enter the European Union without having to undergo six months of quarantine.

The Veterinary Department, together with the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, have supported the Turkish horse industry in its successful efforts to reinstate the agreement.

Equine infectious anemia has continued to be a problem in Romania and the lack of updated EU-legislation had complicated the return of competition horses from other EU member states to their home countries.

“The Veterinary Department has actively been pushing for an update of the EU legislation that will ensure safe movement of horses and a new proposal from the EU Commission is being processed before voting.”

Updated regulations

The committee said the fully revised Veterinary Regulations were introduced during the year and had been well received.

It said the long-requested introduction of registration and control of the specialized professionals and therapies at FEI events had been well received. Similarly, the rule on non-injection on the day of competition had been welcomed by permitted treating veterinarians.

Limb sensitivity

Limb sensitivity examinations for controlling hypersensitivity in jumping have increased in numbers and are now being carried out in South America. Three new examining veterinarians have been trained and are now active there.

The committee, in close cooperation with the FEI’s jumping director and Jumping Committee chair, have introduced new routines to further increase the deterrent effect of the examinations.

It said the research project to identify a system for in-field control of hyposensitivity in Endurance horses had been finalized and was now the basis for a proposed rule change that would enable the use of the system from the start of next year.

A project is being launched for its implementation.

Injury study

The FEI’s successful cooperative venture with Glasgow University over the Global Endurance/Eventing Injury Study (GEIS) has been extended two more years.

“The research team has delivered world-class statistics that has been instrumental for rule changes in Endurance as well as advice during the World Equestrian Games,” the committee said.

Olympic preparations

The Japanese Veterinary Authority has been advised on special health requirements required for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics by the committee, the European Commission and Peden Bloodstock.

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