Equine Health Association (EHA) Update

Equine influenza pest management plan progressing -- (Sep 15, 2002)

It is timely that breed associations and other interested parties are brought up to date regarding the issues currently in front of the NZ Equine Health Association (EHA).

I am on the NZEHA to put forward the needs and concerns of "other breeds", ie breeds other than thoroughbred and standardbred. I can report that our work on developing an equine influenza pest management strategy under the Biosecurity Act 1993 is progressing well.

The NZEHA and MAF now have:

  1. an agreed technical plan,
  2. completed an analysis on the costs/vs the benefits of control of the disease, no control or eradication.
We are now turning our attention to such issues as:
  1. ensuring that we have a usable vaccine available in the face of an outbreak,
  2. ensuring that there is suitable information management system for disease investigation, tracing and management in the face of an outbreak,
  3. identifying systems that will be required for horse identification
  4. canvassing the industry's views on compensation and
  5. ensuring NZ has sufficient diagnostic capability

To this end I would like an opportunity to talk to Breed Societies on the above issues (but specifically, on horse ID and compensation) and seek their feedback. The outcome may result in changes for some breed societies. Some issues might need to be presented to membership as a whole so it would be valuable to initiate progress now so that any required changes to rules can be fully analysed and discussed now, before being presented formally to the various breed AGM's.for feedback and comment.

I will have a number of documents that will need to be forwarded to the Breed associations, including the draft technical plan, a summary of the requirements for an animal identification system under the Biosecurity Act 1993, and some compensation discussion points.

It is important to note that Australia and New Zealand are the only countries with open borders which do not have equine influenza. It is a debilitating disease with large numbers of horses affected. Not many of them die. While the key aim is to keep the disease out of the country, it is essential to have mechanisms in place to mount a rapid response should it ever enter.

The NZEHA has a list of breed societies, but this may not be up to date. We would appreciate expressions of interest in this matter and will forward the documents as well as attend meetings to explain progress so far, and what we need.