AUSTRALIA DECLARED FREE OF EQUINE INFLUENZA
Australia’s horse industries are back on track following the country’s complete eradication of equine influenza (EI) or horse flu.
On 28 August, Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Andy Carroll, confirmed that Australia was officially free from equine influenza as of 30 June 2008, after rigorous testing and surveillance in both previously affected and unaffected areas of Australia.
Since the last positive case in December 2007, no new cases of the disease have been found. This follows a successful control and eradication program, comprehensive surveillance, and an active public awareness campaign.
The successful eradication of EI has emphasised Australia’s credentials as a country with excellent animal health capability.
“I consider this to be a significant animal health achievement, as Australia is one of only a small number of countries that has eradicated this disease”, Dr Carroll said.
“This supports the seriousness with which we regard our quarantine system and the effectiveness of our well-developed disease control capability and regulatory processes”.
Following Australia’s control and eradication of EI, the country’s horse industries have been on an upswing with international markets re-opening their doors to Australian horse exports. Australia’s horse industries are highly regarded around the world for their advanced training methods, superior breeding reputation, world class health system and breadth of ancillary equine services.
Australian Ambassador Rod Smith noted that in the Philippines, Australian-bred horses are used mainly for breeding and racing. Australian horses comprised around 75 per cent of the Philippines’ horse imports in 2006.