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Today came the announcement that Horse Racing will resume tomorrow after just 0.5% of horses tested had the virus. I believe the British Horse Racing Authority made the right decision postponing racing for a week to establish how widespread the virus was. These actions have meant that the virus is still fairly contained and I do not believe it is much of a risk to resume racing. However, I have a feeling that because the racing has resumed, the wider equine industry will relax and under estimate the risk.
It is unknown how widespread
We still have no idea how widespread the issue is in the general horse population. Unlike the racing industry, we are only testing animals who we already suspect of having the flu or have come into contact with confirmed cases of flu. It is just a guessing game at this stage as to how many areas already have the flu and what horses may have come into contact with it.
Regular New Cases
Currently we are getting new cases of equine influenza reported on a near daily basis. These cases do not seem obviously linked in any way and are up and down the country. This shows just how high the risk is still. Just because horse racing, with a much higher standard of bio security, has decided to carry on going, doesn’t mean the rest of the industry can assume it is safe to.
Continued movement of horses
Since there have been no universal cancellation or freedom of movement restrictions, horses continue to move around the country to and from infected areas. This only increases the risk of spreading the disease further.
60% of horses not vaccinated
Finally, 60% of the horses in this country are not vaccinated. This means that 60% of the horse population is at risk of more serious symptoms of the flu, longer recovery times and even the risk of death from this outbreak. We should be taking this risk seriously! Yes racing is back on, but can you say that our bio security is as good as the racing industries?