Revisions to the African horse sickness (AHS) Code Chapter were adopted at the World Organisation for Animal Health’s (OIE) General Assembly in Paris last week. The new guidelines will greatly improve the way in which countries infected with AHS are able to export their horses, something that South Africa has been negotiating for a number of years now.
Racing South Africa CEO, Peter Gibson stated: “This is a significant breakthrough for South Africa whose horse export industry has been hamstrung by past rules which failed to properly address the real risk of exporting the AHS virus. Racing South Africa’s horse export strategy has focused on two major themes pertaining to AHS: changing the regulations and improving the science. With the imminent validation of a new gold standard diagnostic test for AHS, the RT PCR, part of the second objective will have been achieved and we are confident that these developments will build confidence in our trading partners. We are extremely grateful to the South African Veterinary Services for their efforts on behalf of South Africa’s equestrian industry and the team that supported them, in particular Professor Alan Guthrie.”
The impact of the revised code on South African horse exports will be described in due course.