Horse sport’s world governing body has published a set of Return To Competition measures following a six-week shutdown of international events in mainland Europe to control the spread of the neurological form of the Equine Herpes Virus (EHV-1).
The FEI’s measures, which will allow for a safe resumption of sport on April 12, were fine-tuned by both the FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group and the FEI Veterinary Committee, before being approved by the FEI Board.
The outbreak was centred on a competition in Valencia, Spain, with sick horses first reported on February 20. There have been 18 equine fatalities since.
The measures focus on six key areas — Pre-event venue preparations by Organisers; Athlete pre-event preparations; Examination on Arrival; Onsite at Event Venue; Departure from Events; and Jurisdiction — and include a series of temporary provisions, which will remain in place until May 30, 2021, providing a science-based safety margin to allow for monitoring of any further related outbreaks. This date can be extended if required.
The FEI Veterinary Epidemiology Working Group has agreed that there is currently no evidence indicating that it would be unsafe to return to international competition in mainland Europe as planned on April 12, provided the mandated enhanced preventive measures are implemented and there are no further linked outbreaks. The Group will continue to monitor the evolution of the European outbreak on a daily basis.
The FEI HorseApp will be updated with new modules which will allow for enhanced traceability as part of the EHV-1 Return To Competition measures. These will be launched in the second week of April.