EQUINE EXOTIC DISEASE THREATS

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Abstract

The water borders of Australia and New Zealand are an important aspect of biosecurity measures for animal industries. However, the 2007 outbreak of equine influenza (EI) in NSW and Queensland demonstrated how an exotic disease incursion can result when breaches in biosecurity and quarantine measures occur. The outbreak had major impacts on all equine industries in both affected and non-affected states and territories through animal disease, restrictions on horse movement and breeding activities, cancellations of horse events and racing and resources required to contain the epidemic, with substantial economic implications.

In Australia, the major livestock industries have cost-sharing arrangements with the Federal and state/territory governments as part of the Animal Health Australia’s Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement (EADRA). These arrangements ensure appropriate and equitable proportioning of the costs incurred in the response to an EAD between the industry and government. The industry’s financial obligations are met through legislated levies. Despite the size of the equine industry in Australia and prior interest in involvement in the EADRA, no such levy system or admission to the EARDA was in place at the time of the EI outbreak and the direct financial cost of the EI outbreak was met solely by the Commonwealth and the states and territories.. In light of the EI epidemic and the requirement for a levy to support any future EAD responses in the equine industries of Australia, four national horse organizations (Australian racing Board, Harness Racing Australia, Australian Horse Industry Council and Equestrian Australia) signed the EADRA in March 2011 on behalf of the racing, performance and recreation sectors. Subsequently, in September 2011, four years after the EI outbreak, the Horse Disease Response Levy Bills were passed by both houses of Federal Parliament. The purpose of the bills is to impose and collect levies on the disposal of manufactured feed or anthelmintics used for horses in Australia and to administer the funds to meet the horse industry’s obligations in the cost-sharing arrangements under the EADRA (Stathopoulus and Hicks, 2011). Admission of the equine industry to the EADRA ensures a rapid, co-coordinated and funded response to outbreak of an exotic disease of horses in Australia, helping to minimise the impact of the disease on animal health, function of the industry, the environment and public health.
Original languageEnglish
Pages39-45
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2012
EventAustralian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists Science Week 2012 -
Duration: 28 Jun 201230 Jun 2012

Conference

ConferenceAustralian and New Zealand College of Veterinary Scientists Science Week 2012
Period28/06/1230/06/12

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