University of Melbourne Offers Free Lecture on 2007 Equine Influenza Outbreak

The outbreak of equine influenza in August 2007 was as unexpected as it was savage. The overnight unraveling of the racing industry and scenes of distraught Pony Club members led news bulletins around the country.

The man at the centre of this maelstrom was former Minister for Agriculture Peter McGauran, and on Thursday, Oct. 30, from 6:00-7:00pm, he will deliver a free public lecture, "The Equine Influenza Story and its Aftermath," at the University of Melbourne. Attendees will hear him talk for the first time on the view from the inside of the worst exotic disease outbreak in Australia's history.

For weeks on end it captivated the public's interest as the economic losses totaled hundreds of millions of dollars. All the while the largest disease response ever undertaken in the country was in full swing.

The ban on horse movements crippled the competition horse sector and deprived many pleasure horse clubs and events of essential revenue. Service providers, ranging from farriers and vets to equine transport companies and saddlers, were hit hard and turned to the government for financial assistance. Then the Melbourne Cup was threatened.

During his time as minister for agriculture, McGauran developed and implemented the $245-million (AUS; more than $203 million US) Equine Influenza (EI) Assistance Package for the horse industries. McGauran was also a strong advocate for farming families and delivered support to farmers and extending assistance to support small business and communities devastated by the drought.

Today, McGauran is the CEO of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia and Aushorse Ltd. His principal role is to secure greater sales of Australian horses, both within Australia and overseas, which will benefit breeders and the racing industry as a whole. He also represents breeders on issues such as taxation, biosecurity and quarantine, which requires careful lobbying of State and Federal Governments.

Event details:
Thursday, Oct. 30, 2008
6:00pm–7:00pm
Registration will commence at 5:15pm
Bio21 Institute, 30 Flemington Rd, the University of Melbourne

Drinks and light refreshments will be available upon arrival

Due to catering arrangements, bookings are essential. This lecture will become booked out so email ajone@unimelb.edu.au or phone (03) 8344 7844 or book a place online – www.vet.unimelb.edu.au. Booking deadline: Friday, Oct. 3, 2008.

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