Flu Response: Group Representing Performance and Pleasure Horse Industry Formed

A new group representing the performance and pleasure horse industry will work with the Queensland Government to help ensure a coordinated response to the equine influenza (EI) outbreak, Minister for Primary Industries and Fisheries Tim Mulherin said Oct. 16.

The group was designed to help the Government get key information about biosecurity measures and assistance programs to this group of stakeholders and respond to their concerns. It includes representatives from all facets of the industry, including pony clubs, horse exporters, and saddle retailers. The Queensland Horse Council is also represented on the working party.

"The formation of this working party is a major step forward in enabling the Government to work with a wide range of industries affected by EI," Mulherin said. "Many of the people which this group represents do not use computers so they do not have access to the wealth of information about EI on the DPI&F Web site. This has been identified as a gap and we are addressing it."

Mulherin said it was vital that all Queenslanders involved with horses continued to follow proper biosecurity practices. As of Oct. 18 there were 1,332 infected properties in Queensland.

"We have contained this highly contagious virus in the red zone and we are still confident of keeping it contained, so that it will burn itself out," he said. "The strict movement controls are very effective, but we still need people to take appropriate action to prevent spreading the disease."

People who have come into contact with horses should wash with water and soap and change their clothing, including hats and footwear, before coming into contact with other horses, Mulherin said.

The EI vaccination program is proceeding on schedule with horses in the buffer zone receiving top priority, along with high-risk and high-value horses in the red zone.

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