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Monday, August 3, 2020
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Welcome and Introduction

The equine industries of racing, sports horses and endurance require a consistent investment in the health of horses to stabilise the industry and address the environmental exposure to infectious diseases in particular. Africa has always been a difficult environment for horses with ongoing major diseases such as biliary, African horse sickness and the threat of an outbreak of Equine Influenza.

Throughout the world investment in Equine Health is considered an imperative for industry survival.

With globalisation the transport of infections across borders has become a risk to the continued health of our industry. With this in mind we are calling on all horse industries to contribute significantly to the establishment and maintenance of the existing expertise at the University of Pretoria, Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, and in the private sector to secure our future. We are equally committed to leverage your support with Government funding and support to enable growth of the industry.

Background

South Africa has come out of the period of isolation to participate in the globalisation of trade, and with an innovative approach has rapidly begun participating in more high-technology, biotech and development industries to address public and veterinary health challenges facing Africa as a region.

The equine sports of racing, endurance, equestrian and other sports have demonstrated exceptional competitiveness internationally. In recent years these sports industries have reduced in size due to economic conditions, difficulty in accessing global markets, and in part due to infectious diseases hampering conditions for production, export and trade.

The infectious diseases including African horse sickness, Equine Herpes virus and Equine Influenza have also been recognised as a major threat to the economic viability of the industry, as major outbreaks have the potential to cripple the industry with losses, movement controls, cancelled events and export bans.