FEI Working to Improve International High Performance Horse Movement

FEI Working to Improve International High Performance Horse Movement

Horse passports are currently required of high-level FEI competition horses for international events, but less than 50 countries--including the United States--have FEI-recognized passports at a national level, Cooke said.

The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI) has announced the start of an official project designed to furthering their efforts to improve the international movement of high-level horses, according to the FEI veterinary director.

The project will include the endorsement of an official "biosecurity guide," the promotion of horse passports, and a closer working relationship with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) in Paris, France, said Graeme Cooke, MBA, MA, VetMB, MRCVS. The decision was made during the FEI Bureau annual meeting Nov. 6, held this year in Istanbul, Turkey.

"Biosecurity is not something necessarily new, but this project will lend clarity to an approach we've always supported but not properly written down," Cooke told The Horse. One goal of the project is to harmonize equine biosecurity and improve the health requirements for the international movement of high-level performance horses worldwide, he said. This would also help prevent and better manage situations where there is a disease risk, such as the possibility of an influenza outbreak at an FEI event in Normandy, France, in May. These situations are not only potentially detrimental to the welfare of sports horses but also could present great expense as well, he said. "Obviously this also comes along with a financial commitment," Cooke added, underlining the project's level of priority to the FEI.

Consultants have already started drafting the project , he said.

Once completed the new FEI biosecurity guide will provide clear, easy-to-read recommendations about how to prevent and manage equine health risks, Cooke said. It will also "give governments greater confidence in the higher (health and performance) levels of the equine industry," he said. With all nations being provided the same guide, the FEI hopes to achieve an international approach to the standard for equine biosecurity.

Horse passports are currently required of high-level FEI competition horses for international events, but less than 50 countries--including the United States--have FEI-recognized passports at a national level, Cooke said. Passports can provide not only easy identification of horses but also useful breeding and health history on horses which can "help underpin good disease prevention measures."

The FEI also is seeking a unified effort with the OIE (led on behalf of the World Trade Organisation) on the requirements for animal movements worldwide, Cooke said. A closer relationship with the organization is ongoing, following a successful joint conference between the two entities in Guadalajara, Mexico, last October, and the appointment of FEI president HRH Princess Haya as the OIE's first goodwill ambassador in September.

About the Author

Christa Lesté-Lasserre, MA

Christa Lesté-Lasserre is a freelance writer based in France. A native of Dallas, Texas, Lesté-Lasserre grew up riding Quarter Horses, Appaloosas, and Shetland Ponies. She holds a master’s degree in English, specializing in creative writing, from the University of Mississippi in Oxford and earned a bachelor's in journalism and creative writing with a minor in sciences from Baylor University in Waco, Texas. She currently keeps her two Trakehners at home near Paris. Follow Lesté-Lasserre on Twitter @christalestelas.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners