HK and Netherlands Sign Travel Protocol for Olympic Horses

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and the Netherlands signed an operational arrangement today (Dec. 13) on the protocol for the import and export of Olympic and Paralympic equestrian event horses between the two places.

The protocol was signed by the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Stella Hung, and the Director-General, of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality of the Netherlands Renee Bergkamp.

In his welcoming speech, the Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food York Chow, said the ceremony was a milestone event in Hong Kong's preparation for the quarantine arrangements for the importation of horses competing in the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events to be held in HK.

"The execution of the operational arrangement will also set the stage for stronger links between Hong Kong and the Netherlands in the import and export of horses," he said.

Since the announcement that Hong Kong would be staging the events was made in July 2005, the government has been working very closely with the relevant organizations and authorities including the World Organization for Animal Health, the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad, the State General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine, the Ministry of Agriculture, and the Hong Kong Jockey Club, to work out the import arrangements for horses participating in the 2008 Equestrian Events.

The main purpose of putting in place the operational arrangement is to ensure that imported horses are free from diseases of concern to Hong Kong's equine population, to prevent the spread of diseases between horses competing in the events and the smooth re-export of horses to their home countries after the events.

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