Australia bans transportation of horses from Hong Kong

Australia’s Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (DAWR) has imposed a ban on the direct transportation of horses to and from Hong Kong amid concerns over Hong Kong’s involvement with the Conghua Training Centre in China. The ban will come into effect on 2nd October 2017.
Why has it happened?

The problem has arisen since the Hong Kong Jockey Club began the transportation of horses between the Sha Tin racecourse and its new training centre in Conghua in mainland China.

The concerns are over the Equine Disease Free Zone (EDFZ) and the official controls over horses moving between the two countries with the DAWR stating that the Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) has not demonstrated that it can manage biosecurity risks.

The decision has therefore been taken by the Australian authority to suspend all movements from Hong Kong to Australia as a precautionary measure.

What are the implications?

The imposition of the ban means that the only way to ensure the transportation of horses between the two countries is to incorporate a 180-day quarantine in New Zealand on the way.

In the short term this will prevent any Australian horses from competing in Hong Kong’s international meeting in December, however there will also be long term effects.

Many Hong Kong horses are permanently relocated to Australia to resume their racing careers and there is also a large number of horses that are retired to Australia, an important welfare platform.

How can it be rectified?

The Hong Kong Jockey Club maintains that it has conducted thorough tests of its transport protocols, however, the DAWR has said that they will only accept official certification from Hong Kong’s competent authority, the AFCD.

Reports tell us that the AFCD is working with China to provide an application however, nothing has yet been received by the Australian Authorities.

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