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Victoria Seeks 12,000 Doses Of Vaccine

Wednesday, 26th September 2007

Victoria has requested 12,000 doses of equine influenza vaccine as a headline-hogging slanging match develops between federal & state governments over the size of an initial request to protect selected horses ahead of the Melbourne Spring Carnival. While Victoria's racing representatives insist they wanted enough vaccine to cover all 6,000 thoroughbreds currently in training in their state, Federal Minister For Agriculture Peter McGauran said he chaired a meeting of Australia's Primary Industries Ministers at which Victoria's chief veterinary officer Dr Hugh Millar asked for only 1,500. McGauran declared: "Every minister at the ministerial meeting, together with the other 20 note-takers, did not hear a single Victorian representative, neither the minister nor the chief veterinary officer, contest the allocation of 1,500 doses. None of us were to know there was discussion or debate earlier in the day between the experts, if that even occurred. But it beggars belief that a Victorian minister & his chief veterinary officer formally submit to the Primary Industries Ministerial Council a request for 1,500 doses & we are meant to read their minds. We can only give people what they ask for. Moreover I specifically queried that number of 1,500 doses. I asked the minister & his chief veterinary officer what was the basis of his calculation; the reply was: that is the estimate given to us by Racing Victoria. And that was the end of it. It was never raised with us as a point of contention.

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