Event Managers Urged to Notify Participants of Entry Requirements

The Kentucky Horse Council (KHC) recommends that event organizers notify all event participants in advance (via show bill, flier, etc.) that the law requires them to provide proof of a current negative Coggins test and Certificate of Veterinary Inspection (CVI) when attending a public equine event.

A Coggins test is a simple blood test that determines whether a horse is a carrier for equine infectious anemia (EIA), an incurable blood-borne disease. The disease can be spread by using contaminated needles or through biting flies.

Once a horse is diagnosed with EIA, federal law requires the horse to either be euthanized or placed under lifetime quarantine. This stringent eradication program protects other horses from exposure. Through a rigorous testing and enforcement program the United States has dramatically decreased incidence of EIA over the past 30 years.

For horses traveling within the state of Kentucky, a negative Coggins test and in-state Health Certificate are valid for one year from the date of issue. Out-of-state travel requirements vary by state and depend on current disease outbreaks. All interstate travelers hauling equines should check with their veterinarian and the office of the state veterinarian in the state of destination to garner proper credentials before hauling.

"By carrying proper credentials in the truck or trailer, horse owners can be proactive in abiding by the law and working to keep all Kentucky horses safe from the spread of equine infectious anemia," emphasized KHC Board President Madelyn Millard. "Show managers, farm owners, and recreational destinations also have a responsibility to verify that horses entering the property are not carriers of the deadly disease."

Horse show and event management are within their legal bounds to require participants to produce proper documents before allowing them to register for or attend an event or activity.

According to the Kentucky Department of Agriculture, show and event management both have a "legal obligation" to ensure that animals participating in events are in compliance with all rules and regulations.

Rusty Ford, equine program manager for the Kentucky State Veterinarian explained: "I believe an appropriate analogy is to equate the management of a show accepting equine entries to the individual managing a gas station selling tobacco products. Both parties have a legal obligation to ensure individuals participating meet state regulations: a valid EIA Test and CVI for the equine being exhibited and a valid proof of identification that the individual buying cigarettes meets the minimum age requirement.

"Event management is fulfilling their responsibility by disallowing an entry to be accepted if the owner can't provide 'satisfactory' documentation that the entry meets all state requirements," Ford continued. "Show management has an assumed responsibility to ensure that equines participating in their events meet the minimal health requirements established by the Kentucky State Board of Agriculture."

More information about EIA, Coggins testing, and travel documentation can be found online at www.kentuckyhorse.org.

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