Australian Horse Breeders Launch Lawsuit Against Government for Mishandling of Equine Flu Epidemic

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"Who let the flu out?"

That is horse breeders in the Australian state of New South Wales want to know.

In spite of the federal government's offer of a US$110 Million compensation package, the horse breeders announced today that they would launch a class action suit. Doomsayers in the horse industry predict that the horse industry in eastern Australia has been crushed by the outbreak and cannot recover.

This is breeding season in the Southern Hemisphere, and mares are not being allowed to travel to the stallions.

At the heart of the matter is the finger of blame which is currently pointed squarely at the government for mismanagement of quarantine facilities that allowed a sick horse to mingle with others, and allowed workers to possibly carry the disease to off-premises horses.

Meanwhile, the government is losing millions of dollars in revenue each day, as the racetracks remain shuttered. In Australia, horse and dog racing are the legal forms of gambling.

On Monday, the first horse in Australia died of the disease, which is usually not fatal.

It is still illegal to transport horses, and yes, the eventers are still in lockdown in Queensland. They will stay there until 30 days after the last horse of the 265 horses becomes ill, regardless of when transport bans are lifted.

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