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WA Racing Bodies Call For Vaccination

Friday, 28th September 2007

WA Racehorse Owners Association president Peter Morley declared the WA Department Of Agriculture's decision "to re-open the border for entry of horses into Western Australia has infuriated local racing industry bodies, despite strict conditions being implemented". Morley noted: "Let's not forget that strict regulations similar to those that are being imposed in WA have already been used & beaten by the virus when the original stallion came in from Japan to Sydney! While our view is that it was too risky allowing any horses to come into WA full stop until the situation was settled, now we believe that not only is it too risky, it's just unthinkable by any sane person. Yet, the Agriculture Department is allowing this to happen, despite 2 of their consulting vets publicly stating they favour the isolationist approach for now. The owners, trainers, breeders & jockeys associations in WA are united in saying to the Minister that we shouldn't be taking any chances whatsoever." And on the issue of vaccination, Morley added: "This is how simple the whole issue is. It's out of control in NSW, it's practically out of control in QLD, it's an absolute certainty to get to Victoria & eventually it'll get here too. Whether it gets here on a horse or by human means, it'll get here. So why not prepare for it before it challenges us? With a properly implemented vaccination programme - where it eventually becomes a way of life for horse owners, just as it is now in every country in the world except here & New Zealand - we can have a sufficiently vaccinated horse population in WA with immunity to the equine influenza virus in 6-8 weeks. So at a cost of maybe $200 per horse, let's just get on with it & do it. Until then, this is not just a war against the equine influenza virus, it's a game of Russian Roulette! And it's the livelihoods of thousands in the WA horse industry that's at stake."

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