Australia Asks, "What If...?"

In a move to determine what an outbreak of a serious equine disease might cost the government and equine industry in Australia, the government group Animal Health Australia commissioned a report that looked at likely costs of an emergency response to equine influenza.

Australia does not have influenza, and the cost to the government and industry for an outbreak of the disease could range from $775,000 to more than $6 million, depending on the extent of the disease and response. Emergency response could range from quarantine of infected premises, to cessation of all horse movement and assembly, to mass vaccination.

A proposed Cost Sharing Deed of Arrangement for Emergency Animal Disease would ask the government to pay for 20% of the cost of response to an equine influenza outbreak, and the equine industry to pay for 80%.

“The horse industry can have no assurance that the state authority will initiate an emergency response to an outbreak of equine disease without some mechanism in place for industry’s share to be paid. In the absence of a rapid and effective response to an emergency disease situation, there is a likelihood of disease becoming established and widespread with control and treatment costs being an ongoing expense to all sectors of the horse industry,” the report noted. Currently there is no mechanism in place for the industry to pay its share.

For further information, contact Patricia Ellis, MVSc, at

About the Author

Kimberly S. Brown

Kimberly S. Brown was the Publisher/Editor of The Horse: Your Guide To Equine Health Care from June 2008 to March 2010, and she served in various positions at Blood-Horse Publications since 1980.

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