If the authorities don’t take the current warning from an industry tired of hollow promises and financing what feels like a decades long pipe-dream, stakeholders will have no option but to take action itself and cut off ‘this huge cost’.
Veteran Bloodstock man John Freeman is the latest internationally respected racing figure to stand up and say enough is enough.
Writing in his weekly eNews, Freeman who has a half century of experience in the industry, says that he has been reading the latest about the export protocols saga.
I don’t get it: why would we want to continue punishing ourselves like this.
I started the export council many years ago (called SAHIEC in those days) and with the help of our then Chairman Paddy Wilson managed to get protocols established with the Malaysian Racing Authority who controlled exports to Malaysia and Singapore.
We then got Hong Kong open in time for London News to fly direct to win the QEII.
Subsequently a tragic incident in which draft horses were brought into the Free Area by someone at Lanzerac caused a shut down.
Ever since then it’s been a hell ride. Every promise made along the lines of “it’s about to happen” is like the fairy at the bottom of my garden, doesn’t exist. It’s been going for about 20 years now.
I have no idea what this has cost our industry in direct investment.
I can’t begin to quantify what it has cost owners, breeders and trainers in terms of added costs like not being able to move horses freely (the stop overs each horse moving to the Cape has to endure), the cost of health certificates for movement, blood tests, the revenue lost to stallions for cancellations because of movement restrictions – we lost several valuable bookings this season again – and the costs of just running the business of application.
We are talking about hundreds of millions – I think it could easily run into seven figures, like millions.
That’s a helluva lot more than the R50m reported to be the value of our annual export market. It’s been a nice dream but the dream has become a nightmare and we just can’t afford it anymore.
We know that it’s very difficult and punishing to export via the current route through Mauritius but it works.
We have to accept that as a compromise because I don’t believe that the EU will get here in the near future so we must stop pouring much needed resources down a bottomless pit.
The game is tough right now. We need to make tough decisions, difficult as that has to be. Every rand wasted on continuing this foolish hope is too much.