Equine flu – Statement from Donald McCain

NEWS RELEASE

7 February 2019 -For immediate release

STATEMENT FROM DONALD MCCAIN CONCERNING HORSES AFFECTED BY EQUINE FLU

The National Trainers Federation is issuing the following statement from trainer Donald McCain to provide some background information about the cases of Equine Influenza at his Bankhouse premises in Cheshire.

“I have been aware of the recent news about Equine Influenza outbreaks in France and Ireland, and over the last couple of days, I have been concerned about the health status of a small number of horses in the yard. Their welfare is at the front of our minds, so at my request, our veterinary surgeon has examined them regularly and we have followed his advice on testing and treatment. It was by following this protocol that the positive results for equine flu came to light yesterday evening. The BHA were contacted immediately and we are liaising closely with them about biosecurity and management of all the horses at Bankhouse.

“Bankhouse follows all the available advice on disease control and all our horses are fully inoculated. We are scrupulous about observing the health status of horses in our care and taking the necessary steps to treat any condition that may affect them. It follows we would never race any horses that we could have known were infected. Over the last 2 months, all potential runners have been scoped and their blood checked within 36 hours of their races to ensure that only healthy horses compete for the yard.

“When new horses arrive at our yard we, as much as possible, try to keep them separate but at this stage cannot know if the infection came from recent arrivals or from horses returning from racing. We have 3 confirmed cases and this morning have taken blood and swabs from all the others for testing.”

Comment from David Sykes, BHA Director of Equine Health and Welfare, “We would like to thank Donald McCain for his cooperation in this matter, and for the responsible manner in which he has dealt with this issue, under the guidance of his veterinary surgeon. He has acted professionally with the interests of the racing industry and the health of his horses as his priority.”

Mr. McCain will provide updates in due course.

Ends

The National Trainers Federation represents the interests of British licensed racehorse trainers.

For more information, please contact Rupert Arnold, NTF Chief Executive, on 01488 71794 or 07899 797010. E-mail: r.arnold@racehorsetrainers.org

For more information on the National Trainers Federation, please go to www.racehorsetrainers.org

Biosecurity essential after racing cancelled 7 February due to equine flu

The BHA, with unanimous support of the BHA’s industry veterinary committee, has taken the decision to cancel racing at all British racecourses on Thursday 7 February 2019. This is following the BHA being informed last night by the Animal Health Trust of three confirmed Equine Influenza positives from vaccinated horses in an active racing yard.

Horses from the infected yard have raced today at Ayr and Ludlow, potentially exposing a significant number of horses from yards across the country and in Ireland. The fact that the cases have been identified in vaccinated horses presents a cause for significant concern over welfare and the potential spread of the disease and the action to cancel racing has been viewed as necessary in order to restrict, as far as possible, the risk of further spread of the disease.

The BHA has worked quickly to identify which yards could have potentially been exposed today and identify the further actions required. The BHA is presently communicating with yards potentially exposed to ensure appropriate quarantine and biosecurity measures are put in place and horse movements restricted to avoid possible further spread of the disease.

The full extent of potential exposure is unknown and we are working quickly to understand as much as we can to assist our decision making. The BHA is working closely with the Animal Health Trust and will issue a further update tomorrow. We recommend that any trainer who has concerns about the health status of any of their horses should contact their veterinarian.

All trainers should put in place strict biosecurity measures as set out in the NTF’s Biosecurity Guidelines here. This advice is also available on the EquiBioSafe app.

New SNELL skull cap standard

SNELL have developed a new skull cap standard – E2016 – which the BHA intends to add to the list of skull cap standards permitted in the rules.

Manufacture of the E2001 standard ceased in 2018 and this standard will remain on the permitted list for the time being while stocks are held in shops. Because the maximum lifetime of a skull cap is four to five years, the BHA envisages 2023/24 as a probable date to withdraw the E2001 standard from the rules.

If a hat with an E2001 label also has PAS 011 or the other current standard, it will remain acceptable even when SNELL E2001 has gone.

Equine flu outbreak becoming more serious – take extra precautions

Late yesterday the Animal Health Trust issued an update on the outbreak of equine flu. As a result, trainers should take extra care about biosecurity to prevent the infection entering their yard.

Your first point of reference is the NTF’s Code of Practice for Infectious Diseases and associated Bio-Security Guidelines. These are found in the Horse Welfare section of the Members Area on our website. You can also check them on the EquiBioSafe app, which can be downloaded on both Apple and Android mobile devices.

With the increased threat to thoroughbreds in training, you should take precautions about service providers (e.g. farriers, vets, para-professionals) entering your premises and mixing with the horses. Ask where they have been prior to arriving at your yard. Consider providing clean over-clothing for them. Don’t forget to include headwear as a potential carrier of disease. Find out if any of your staff visit other equestrian premises or mix with other horses whose health status is unknown. New horses entering a yard should be isolated for a period of 14 days.

Vaccinations – the strong recommendation is to give an equine flu vaccination booster to any of your horses that have not received one in the last six months. Obviously this will depend on when the horse is likely to be racing next. It is a recommendation, not a rule.

Be vigilant. Confirmed cases must be reported to the British Horseracing Authority – this can be done via the EquiBioSafe App or by emailing equine@britishhorseracing.com or calling 020 7152 0009.

Update from the Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group

The British Racing and Breeding industries, represented by the Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group, hope that a Withdrawal Agreement between the United Kingdom and European Union can be reached in the coming weeks. Any implementation period following a withdrawal agreement would, for example, see a continuation of the current free movement of thoroughbreds between Britain, Ireland and France until at least December 2020 with work proceeding on longer-term arrangements beyond any such period. However, we are making no assumptions and therefore ruling out no scenarios.

As such, we are increasing our preparations for the event of the UK’s departure from the EU on 29 March without a deal. We will be communicating further and formally with our stakeholders and participants over the next month with practical guidance and advice, and continue our regular contact with UK Government, colleagues elsewhere in the horse sector, and the Irish and French thoroughbred industries, in particular.

We have had productive discussions with the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) in the last two weeks and are encouraged by the level of ‘no deal’ planning in place.

An online hub to provide guidance to industry participants on what to do as the UK leaves the EU has been set up on the BHA website (https://www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/brexit/), collating industry relevant information which is regularly updated as further advice from government departments becomes available.

Julian Richmond-Watson, Chairman of the Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (TBA) and of the British Thoroughbred Industries Brexit Steering Group, said:

“With continuing uncertainty around the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, it is only right that the thoroughbred industries prepare for all scenarios, including a No Deal which we hope can be avoided. We have been very encouraged by our engagement with Government around preparations for a No Deal, and endorse its stance that current systems for horse movement into the UK will continue in these circumstances.”

Thoroughbred movement

We would reiterate that the UK Government has made clear that in the event of no deal, thoroughbreds will still be able travel freely into the UK from Ireland and France, as current systems will be replicated. These current systems under the pre-existing Tripartite Agreement work well and have evolved over decades. They facilitate and foster growing international competition and allow for smooth and efficient trade, most importantly prioritising the welfare of our horses and reflecting their high health, high welfare status.

We fully support and lobbied for this position adopted by the UK Government as the pragmatic and right thing to do and to minimise unnecessary disruption.

The UK’s third country status post-Brexit

We have recently had confirmation from the Government that if the UK does leave the EU without a deal then it will be treated as a third country, and in order to be prepared for all possible outcomes, the UK Government has submitted its application for listing as a third country to continue exporting live animals and animal products to the EU after Brexit. The Commission’s recently published Contingency Action Plan states that: “On the basis of the EU veterinary legislation, the Commission will – if justified – swiftly ʻlistʼ the United Kingdom [as a third country], if all applicable conditions are fulfilled, so as to allow the entry of live animals and animal products from the United Kingdom into the European Union”.

We understand that the technical discussions between Defra officials and the European Commission are currently ongoing and are hopeful that they will reach a positive and timely conclusion. Upon the UK achieving such listing the process for thoroughbreds returning or travelling to, for instance, Ireland or France, will become clearer, and the relevant guidance will be provided.

Transport

The Government’s priority continues to be to secure a deal which maintains the current, liberalised access arrangements for transporters, and in the meantime is working to ensure the UK is ready for all exit scenarios.

There was a significant concern within the industry that the administrative barriers that the EU could apply for transporters as the UK becomes a third country would add to the challenges with the movement of horses in the event of a no deal. The European Commission however has recently published proposals that would allow UK hauliers to continue carrying goods into the EU until the end of 2019 if there is no deal, without the need for an ECMT permit. The UK Government has welcomed the proposal as a positive step forward for UK hauliers and intends to reciprocate.

Additional requirements for road travel within the EU for UK citizens and registered companies remains likely, whether in the short or medium term, and seeking clarity on the practicalities for companies and individuals transporting thoroughbreds continues to be a priority area for the Steering Group.  We will provide a further update in this area as soon as there is greater clarity.

Stud Book Recognition

As of 1 November 2018, a new EU regulation came into place for horses coming from Non-EU countries. This legislation states that, if a Stud Book or Breed Society from a third country is not listed as being permitted to trade with the EU, horses of that country are not allowed to enter any EU country or to be registered in that country.

Weatherbys has lodged an application with Defra for submission to the EU Commission for the General Stud Book to be recognised by the EU Commission and to be added to its list of breeding bodies. In requesting a listing, we agree to respect the legal right of entry in the General Stud Book of Thoroughbreds from stud books in EU Member States.

European Union citizens working in the British thoroughbred industry
The UK Government has launched a website outlining details of the EU Settlement Scheme for European Union citizens, and their families, to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021 with either settled or pre-settled status. The application process opens in full on 30 March 2019 and further guidance will be provided in advance of that date.

The Steering Group has been making representations, with the support of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), to the ongoing Migration Advisory Committee process to ensure as far as possible that the requirements of our industry of the future UK immigration system are satisfied. This includes a submission to the recently closed consultation on the composition of the Shortage Occupation List to apply for the Racing industry to be returned to the list. If that were to happen, it would mean that those wishing to come to the UK to work in the racing industry could be processed far more quickly.

Notes to Editors:

1. Useful links

UK Government – Settled and pre-settled status for EU citizens and their families

Reduction in omeprazole detection time

The BHA’s notice below is a welcome move forward in the regulation of omeprazole as a prohibited substance. The NTF has lobbied over a long period for omeprazole to be permitted on racedays on the basis that its effect is in the interests of a horse’s welfare by supressing the activity of gastric ulceration without affecting racing performance.

Though we have not achieved that goal yet, the announcement of a reduction in the official detection time is a step forward.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) would like to advise the Responsible Person (i.e. trainers, owners, breeders) and their veterinary surgeons that the Detection Time for omeprazole has been reduced from 72 hours to 48 hours. The updated Detection Time will be effective from 01 February 2019.

DETECTION TIMES
Substance Preparation Dose Route of Administration (no of horses) Detection Time (hours)
Omeprazole Gastrogard ®37% oral Paste Merial 1mg/kg for 28 days, once daily Oral (* see note) ≤48↓

* Calculated from several studies involving differing numbers of horses.

↓Decrease in Detection Time from previously published level. New Detection Time applicable from 01 February 2019.

The BHA Published Detection Times have been updated to reflect this change.

30 January 2019

Dr Emmanuelle van Erck to report on EIPH at the AGM

We are delighted to announce that Dr. Emmanuelle van Erck, an expert in equine internal and sports medicine, will present on the subject Understanding and managing exercise induced pulmonary haemorrhage in horses for 30 minutes prior to the formal AGM on Thursday 28th February at the Institute of Directors. We are grateful to our sponsor Cavalor for arranging this presentation.

Dr van Erck graduated in 1996 from the French Veterinary School of Maisons-Alfort. She trained in sports medicine at the University of Liège (Belgium) where she obtained her PhD on respiratory function testing in horses. She has authored over 50 peer-reviewed scientific articles, regularly lectures at international conferences, and is a member of the FEI expert committee on prohibited substances and doping. Dr. van Erck will be present after the meeting to answer trainers’ questions about her work on EIPH.

Doors will open at 11.00am for members to arrive for tea and coffee before the presentation.

Full documentation for the AGM will be sent to members early in February.

cavalor