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Aust EI-Free As Last Qld Zone Declared Green

Friday, 14th March 2008

The Australian Racing Board confirmed that from today "Australia will be once again declared provisionally free of equine influenza when the last Amber Zone in Queensland is reclassified to Green". The National Management Group (which is responsible for the government response to the EI outbreak) "has approved this reclassification in Queensland, enabling Australia to make this declaration". ARB chief executive Andrew Harding (the industry's member of the National Management Group) declared: "When we were told on 25 August 2007 that EI had escaped from Eastern Creek Quarantine Station it was the day an atom bomb was dropped on Australian racing. The next 6 months was a nightmare, but this is a truly sweet moment." Harding noted: "The significance of this development is that Australia has avoided the substantial deficits that face those countries where EI is endemic. For those countries that accept equine influenza as an endemic disease, the annual costs of living with the disease are very high. These include cancelled race meetings & other equestrian events, lost performance days, treatment costs for sick horses & restrictions on the movement of horses to other countries. The fact that Australia is once again free of this disease is a very important achievement."

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