Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Groups Collaborate On Sport Horse Movement In Asia, Oceania

The OIE, FEI, and IFHA have been collaborating to develop the high-health, high-performance horse concept, based on existing OIE standards. Photo: Anne M. Eberhardt The World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) today (Feb. 18) opened a three-day workshop for government veterinary and animal health experts from 20 nations across Asia and Oceania at the Happy Valley Racecourse, in Hong Kong, focusing on the international movement of sport horses. The workshop, which is the first of its kind to be held in Asia, is co-organized by the Federation Equestre Internationale (FEI); the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA); the Agriculture, Fisheries, and Conservation Department of the Hong Kong government; and the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC). Sessions at the workshop will focus on the extensive global growth of the sport horse industry over the last decade, which has resulted in far-reaching socioeconomic benefits for national economies and the horse sport industry, and has significantly strengthened the progression of equestrian athletes competing on the world stage. The sport still faces serious challenges due to inconsistent approaches to the application of health regulations and quarantine on competition horses, leading to excessive and irregular health requirements for temporary importation. The OIE, FEI, and IFHA have been collaborating to develop the high-health, high-performance horse (HHP) concept, based on existing OIE standards. The advantages of this solution to meeting global requirements for horse importation will be presented to government experts from Australia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Chinese Taipei, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Korea, and Vietnam. The HHP concept will be presented within the new OIE terrestrial animal health code chapter during the 2014 OIE General Session, taking place May 25-30 in Paris, France, for a vote by all 178 member countries. Group Effort The OIE recognizes the value of the equine industry, not only because of the increased number of equestrian events worldwide, but also in terms of creating employment, said Bernard Vallat, DVM, director general of the OIE. However, we recognize that much of the growth in the horse industry is taking place in the traditional horse sport regions of the world: Europe, North America, Canada, and Australia," he continued. "So facilitation of international horse movement would also allow for emerging countries and regions to tap into the economic potential associated with an increase in numbers of equestrian events, be it FEI sport or horse racing. The concept of identifying a sub population of high health, high performance horses, in line with the OIE standards and principles, is designed to address the perceived issues in terms of global movement of horses. FEI President HRH Princess Haya added by video message, Some of the worlds most valuable and supervised horses are now competing for the biggest prizes on the planet here in Asia. Recently, we saw the South East Asian Games in Myanmar; next year the Asian Games will be held in Incheon, in the Republic of Korea; and in 2020, the Olympic Games will come once again to Asia (when the games return to Tokyo, Japan) and the eyes of the world will be focused on this region. "But international equestrian sport cannot take place without the temporary importation of high-health, high-performance horses and at present the approach to moving these horses between countries in the region is extremely disharmonized and does not take into account their lower disease risk or their high level of supervision," she continued.
For the original version visit http://www.thehorse.com/articles/33411/groups-collaborate-on-sport-horse-movement-in-asia-oceania

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