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IFHA signed an official agreement with the OIE in order to facilitate the international movement of racehorses

Paris, 16 July 2013 – An official agreement between the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) and the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE) was signed at the OIE Headquarters in Paris on July 10 2013 by Louis Romanet, Chairman of IFHA and Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of OIE. The Agreement signals the affiliation of the horseracing industry to the world animal health standard-setting body and the formalization of the collaborative process by which the IFHA and the OIE have been working together to improve the international movement of racehorses.

The IFHA shares the view of the OIE, and believes strongly, that the import requirements for international competition horses should be based on scientific principles.  By basing the requirements for international movement of horses on science it is anticipated to establish a high degree of harmonization between Government regulations governing temporary importation of such horses, which will facilitate their movements worldwide.

Such facilitation can only be achieved through a high level public – private partnership in which the Government, through its Veterinary Services, works hand in hand with the event organizers to implement agreed biosecurity protocols, assure clear identification and traceability of the horse and high health standards to ensure the safety and welfare of these high level, high performance horses (HHP horses).

Since the 2007 Equine Influenza outbreak in Australia, the IFHA has noted with some concern that Governments have become more anxious with the movement of horses for competitions and instigated a series of risk assessments.  These import risk analyses have invariably resulted in new certificates that have moved away from the previously well accepted format using the European certificate as a model leading to an increasing lack of harmonization of the import regulations.  This lack of harmonization has created difficulties for the movement of horses for racing that is hampering the growth of international horse racing.

The International Equestrian Federation (FEI) has already elaborated solutions with the OIE to address similar concerns regarding the international movement of their high level sports horses. This fortuitously provides a first and very welcome opportunity for all high level sports horses, both equestrian and racing, to join together with the OIE on a united and coordinated front to develop guidelines and international standards to facilitate the international movement of all HHP sports horses.

This agreement marks another significant milestone in the history of the IFHA and the horseracing industry. The IFHA is delighted to be able to join with the OIE and FEI on this exciting project to the benefit of both the HHP horse and the industry, and looks forward to a long and mutually beneficial working relationship with the OIE.

 

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