Equine Flu Causes Cancellation of Equitana Asia Pacific in Australia

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November's Equitana Asia Pacific in Melbourne, Australia has been canceled for 2007 amidst fears that the Australian horse flu crisis might impact the event...or that the event might adversely effect efforts to stem the outbreak. Show managers plan to reschedule the event until November 2008, while the effects of the Equine Influenza threat are managed.

Melbourne is in the state of Victoria in southeastern Australia. Strict measures banning movement of horses have, so far, kept the equine influenza outbreak out of Victoria. The Royal Melbourne Show went on recently, without the traditional horse show and parade horses.

"We believe that postponing this year's event is in the best interest of the horse industry and supports the ongoing endeavors to prevent the virus entering the Victorian horse population," said Daryl Herbert, CEO of show-producer Definitive Events in an announcement posted on the show's web site.

"The unique environment that embodies Equitana Asia Pacific--horse and public one on one--is what makes it special and brings together the Australian equine industry. With the restriction on interstate horse movement, the recommended bio-security precautions and exclusion zone restrictions, it is clear that we could not deliver the standard of Equitana Asia Pacific that the equine community has come to expect," said Daryl.

Victoria's Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Hugh Millar expressed his understanding and support of the decision. "The risks associated with the assembly and interaction with the people and horses, the logistical difficulties in implementing bio-security procedures and the consequence of a suspected outbreak, all point towards a decision that is in the best interest of the equine industry," he said.

Franz Venhaus, Chief Executive Officer of the Equestrian Federation of Australia, fully supports the decision to postpone the event in these difficult times for the equine industry. "This decision is in the best interest of our industry and we will work with event organizers in the presentation of outstanding competitions in 2008", said Franz.