FEI refines horse health protocols post-EHV-1 outbreak

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Three further levels of sanctions will be added before imposing a suspension, giving those responsible ample opportunity to comply with the FEI's Horse Health Requirements.
©  FEI/Christophe Taniere

Modified sanctions for the non-fulfilment of the horse health measures introduced in response to last year’s EHV-1 outbreak in mainland Europe are being introduced by the FEI.

Three further levels will be added before imposing a horse suspension, giving every Person Responsible (PR) ample opportunity to fully understand the importance of the Horse Health Requirements and comply.

Since the Horse Health Requirements came into force six months ago, 78% of the horses competing in mainland Europe have fulfilled them correctly. Out of the remaining 22%, 18% received warnings and 4% were sanctioned.

The modified requirements will come into effect on July 4, 2022, and will replace the existing sanctions system in mainland Europe which has been in place since November 1, 2021. For the rest of the world, where the sanctions system had not been imposed yet, the modified Horse Health Requirements will come into effect on September 1, 2022. The updates will be reflected in Annex VI of the FEI Veterinary Regulations.

FEI Secretary-General Sabrina Ibáñez said the FEI had to impose strict requirements in order to preserve the sport as well as the entire industry and prevent further harm.

“We are well aware of the criticism but also of the useful feedback some of these actions have generated. We have taken on board the valuable suggestions the community has sent us and have made every effort to improve the system so it is better aligned with the biosecurity risk posed at the various events.

“We are continuously adding new and improved features in order to assist everyone involved in horse management to comply with the requirements and help the entire community protect our sport,” Ibáñez said.

“The severity of the EHV-1 outbreak on mainland Europe had devastating consequences for the entire equine industry.”

The changes were approved yesterday on the first day of the first in-person FEI Board Meeting of the year at FEI Headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The Board comprises the Chairs of the FEI Committees and Regional Groups.

The Board also heard that improved functionality has been added to the FEI HorseApp, including a new home page in the form of a dashboard that will allow the athletes and grooms to see the status of each horse entered for upcoming shows.

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