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Freedman Calls For Vic Vacinnations First

Monday, 24th September 2007

Leading Victorian trainer Lee Freedman called for Victorian horses to be the first vaccinated against equine influenza to protect the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival. Freedman told Radio 2SM: "If you're going to mass vaccinate horses in NSW, you have to vaccinate Victoria. And if you are going to vaccinate Victoria, you may as well do it first to get some protection into these horses so the carnival can go ahead. Clearly it should get a 2-week head start. We're in a very precarious situation." Freedman added it is time for Government officials (both at state & federal level) to admit defeat in trying to contain the hose flu & get on with vaccinating Australia's entire thoroughbred population, declaring bluntly: "We've got a policy that relies on tens of thousands of people doing the right thing. That's a very dodgy policy to be pinning your hopes on, because while 80% of the population are doing the right thing, maybe 90%, maybe 95%, there is still an element that won't & that's the big risk. Otherwise how would equine influenza have got into a completely EI-free zone like Warwick Farm? Whether is was stupidity or laziness or whatever, the human element in this whole situation is what's going to bring us undone. And if we don't get inoculated soon, we're going to have the whole industry brought to its knees. I don't think the people that make these decisions on vaccination, etc, are considering the commerciality of the game. This is a commercial business: a multi billion-dollar industry that's been put at risk by dithering around with containment & stuff like that. If this gets right through the horse population of Australia & cripples racing for 6 months we're in big trouble, seriously big trouble."

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