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EA News: Update from the Chairman

Dear valued members,

Further to the update provided yesterday, and recognising the significant distress and concern about the issue of FEI and Hendra vaccinations, the Chair of Equestrian Australia Alistair MacKinlay wishes to keep you informed and give you a further update.

I have written to the FEI President, Ingmar de Vos, in the strongest possible terms. The letter was regarding the FEI Veterinary Report on Hendra in Australia and a proposal for consideration of mandatory vaccinations.

I said to FEI President;

  • What is most concerning is Equestrian Australia (EA) has not been consulted on this proposal.
  • The perception from the FEI Veterinary paper for the GA is that EA has been a party to this action without consultation with the EA members.
  • This reflects extremely badly on EA and the State branches who are entrusted with the governance of the equestrian sports in Australia, and as this issue has been in existence for a number of years without action by FEI it is reasonable to expect that any potential proposed change to the rules would be with the appropriate consultation.
  • EA requested FEI confirm as soon as possible if they will be providing opportunity for EA to participate in such important and necessary consultation?

Overnight EA has had confirmation from FEI the Hendra vaccination is indeed a very sensitive matter and they will approach it with the necessary respect and in collaboration with EA and other stakeholders.

The FEI have said they are in the initial discussion phase and the next step will be for the Veterinary Committee to evaluate available information and advice. The FEI say their aim is to ensure access is available at the required levels to veterinary health care for FEI horses and a safe working environment for FEI Veterinary Officials during FEI events.

Equestrian Australia has advised the FEI again that the issue of whether horses should be vaccinated for the virus is controversial in Australia and that there are many different opinions surrounding the single present vaccine's effects and use. Indeed, as members may be aware, there is currently a class action under way regarding those very issues, brought by some 130+ people against the manufacturer of the vaccine. That class action is presently wending its way through the Federal Court.

As Chair of EA I said to the FEI that EA, the State Branches, and our participants are extremely disappointed consultation has not taken place to date. EA believes that there should at the very least a high level consultation between stakeholders (FEI, EA, Vets, Owners, Experts) to consider the evidence and examine options.

The safety and wellbeing of our horses and people continues to be Equestrian Australia’s priority.

Article courtesy of Equestrian Australia

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