width=268Due to the Equine influenza outbreak, many horse activities in Australia were crippled and sent many horse-based businesses to the wall. This issue has been raised again this week.

Peter McGauran, chief executive officer of Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, sent out a media release saying that Federal Agriculture Minister Tony Burke had approved selective EI (equine influenza) vaccinations for Australia's racehorses against the widespread advice from the experts.

Industry experts, including vets and breeders believe that vaccinations could cause the disease become endemic in Australia.

During the August 2007 Equine influenza outbreak, the thoroughbred industry was well supported by the Government and by Mr Gauran, then Minister for Primary Industries.

The Minister is to be congratulated for his determination in reaching his own position after months of scientific inquiry, rather than following the opinions of vets who have no or little experience of EI apart from the 2007 outbreak, Mr Gauran said in a press release.

Chief executive of Harness Racing Australia, Andrew Kelly, voiced out his concerns about the news.

Allowing for voluntary vaccinations against EI is an admission that the equine industry and the Australian Government have failed in removing the influenza from the country. he said.

Mr Kelly said that by allowing for such vaccinations, Australia will also be ignoring the weight of scientific and veterinary opinions that generally warns that vaccination will just disguise the widespread of EI in infected animals into the future.  

The result of this action is that a vaccinated animal may not develop the symptoms or the disease itself, but the same animal can transmit the disease to a non-vaccinated animal.

This will severely hurt Australia's horse industry, from mums and dads with their weekend ponies, piercing right through the horse racing industry itself.

Franz Vernhaus, Equestrian Australia's chief executive officer, said that vaccination would produce pressures and will severely damage Trans-Tasman trade.

We have supported the Beale El Expert Review Panel Report of September 2009 which did not offer vaccinations and argued for the continuance of effective quarantine barriers. he said.

This latest proposal is from the thoroughbred industry. All other jurisdictions seem to be against with it.