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Equestrian events to go on amid flu outbreak

September 27, 2007

Event cancellations throughout Australia caused by the enquine influenza outbreak have curtailed the competitive programmes of many sport horses and riders but the country's governing body for equestrian sports is attempting to get the industry back to as normal as possible.

The Equestrian Federation of Australia has released a set of draft regulations and guidelines for organisers holding events and other horse gatherings in "green zones" within New South Wales and Queensland and in the remainder of Australia, which is still free of Equine Influenza.

This means that events like equestrian competitions, training days, can resume at least on a limited scale and in defined areas, subject to meeting certain conditions.

The federation has put together draft regulations and guidelines for such events "in an attempt to get some level of consistency," it said. The draft has been distributed to the various State Chief Veterinary Officers, other members of the Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Disease (CCEAD), and to all EFA Branches for comment.

The document gives guidelines under which EFA-sanctioned and EFA-related events can be run. The first priority will always be the containment of the virus. This is balanced by risk assessments and instructions issued by State Departments of Primary Industry, which will always override any rules issued by the EFA. The EFA may, however, make additional requirements.

All regulations and guidelines may be changed without notice. Revised regulations and new orders come into effect on the day they are made unless stated otherwise.

Equestrian sports are represented on the Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Disease (CCEAD) through the Australian Horse Industry Council (AHIC). The CCEAD advises the National Management Group (NMG), which is set up to manage the Equine Influenza outbreak.

The NMG is comprised of the Chief Executive Officers of the Commonwealth and State/Territory departments of agriculture/primary industries across Australia and also the heads of the peak bodies representing the horse industry (the Australian Horse Industry Council [AHIC], the Australian Racing Board and the Australian Harness Racing Council). It is chaired by the Secretary of the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Dr Conall O'Connell. The EFA has "observer" status on the NMG and has some opportunities for direct input.



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