Brazilian Endurance Team Changes Route to Avoid Glanders Hotspot

The road to the FEI World Endurance Championship (WEC) will be a little longer for Brazil's six horses because of a recent case of glanders in a horse in Sao Paulo. The European Union (EU) originally refused to allow horses from Brazil to transit through Europe en route to Malaysia for the event. That decision has been modified, according to Derek Liebenberg, WEC technical advisor.

"(EU authorities) divided Brazil into different zones," Liebenberg explained on Oct. 11. "This meant that all the competition horses from Brazil are based in the so-called 'free zones,' and the EU ruled that the horses from these free zones may transit through Europe."

The EU declared Sao Paulo, where the glanders case occurred, a high-risk zone.

"With the airport being in Sao Paulo, we could not take the horses into that zone in order to fly them to Malaysia via Europe," reported Liebenberg. "The horses will now be flown to Guatemala by charter flight. From there, they will be flying with the Guatemala horses to Paris. From Paris they will be transported by road to Amsterdam and then flown to Malaysia."

The Brazilian horses are scheduled to arrive Oct. 30. The WEC will be held Nov. 6-9 in Terengganu, Malaysia. More than 142 horses from 34 countries are expected to compete.

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Irene Stamatelakys

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