Tennessee to Test Horse Show Bioterrorism Preparation

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture will test local, state and federal responses to a simulated act of bioterrorism at a major horse show today, according to a story on www.tennessean.com.

"The exercise will take place in Shelbyville, home of the Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration, a premier equine event that attracts tens of thousands of spectators and hundreds of horses every summer," said the article.

The table-top discussion will last from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. and more than 100 people, including veterinarians, police, emergency medical workers and horse owners, are expected to attend the exercise at the Blue Ribbon Circle Club at the celebration grounds. There is no threat against the walking horse industry, but planners want the discussion to be as real as possible, so they chose the Shelbyville site, said the article.

A scenario will be presented--a specific disease agent will be "introduced" (officials declined to say which) and the different state agencies will respond with the actions they would take in the hypothetical situation. Officials said that the agent that is simulated would be harmful, if not deadly, to horses, would cause flu-like symptoms in humans, and have "an immediate impact" if it were actually introduced, the article added.

Last year, foot and mouth disease and its potential effect on the Tennessee cattle industry was discussed in a similar disease preparedness exercise.

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

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