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Australia to continue importing horses from approved countries

Horses from Japan will soon be able to be imported to Australia subject to stringent biosecurity measures for the first time since the 2007 equine influenza (EI) outbreak.

Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Tony Burke welcomed the decision made by Biosecurity Australia which followed the completion of an Import Risk Analysis (IRA).

“We will never know the full cost to the Australian economy following the EI outbreak, which was estimated at $1 billion,” Mr Burke said.

“The outbreak had a crippling impact on the local racing sector, local jobs and regional economies.

“The measures set out in the new IRA are consistent with Australia’s stringent science based biosecurity rules.

“They involve certification, disease testing, pre-export quarantine and post-arrival quarantine. The approved import conditions for horses closely reflect the current interim measures, which were introduced after the equine influenza outbreak.”

The IRA, which forms part of the Government’s response to the Callinan Commission of Inquiry into the EI outbreak, recommends that Australia continue to allow imports of horses from approved countries, subject to stringent biosecurity conditions.

This decision effectively means that horse imports from Japan, which were suspended following the EI outbreak in Australia, will be able to resume soon should they meet the biosecurity requirements.

If this is the case, Japanese horses will be able to compete again in the Melbourne Spring Carnival.

With the assistance of a panel of experts, the IRA assessed more than 40 pests and diseases and recommended biosecurity measures for 24 of them, including EI.

A wide range of stakeholders with interests in importing horses were consulted in the IRA process.

All recommendations from the Callinan Inquiry are progressing as scheduled, with 33 recommendations implemented as of March 2010.

by S. C.
25 march 2010, World News > Oceania

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