When it comes to the international transport of horses, you'd better read the fine print.
And then you'd better read it again. And have everyone in a position to second-guess you read it, too.
And do this long before the event.
Just ask the Indian Equestrian Team. They watched the Asian Games on television at home this weekend instead of on the monitor in the warmup ring at Guangzhou, site of the massive sports event that is second in size only to the Olympics.
Surely something has been lost in translation here.
The Indians failed to impress the Chinese authorities with their paperwork. While three of the eight horses were cleared for entry into China, five were refused, based on tests for Western Hemisphere diseases like Eastern Equine Encephalitis and Venezuelan Equine Encephalitis.
Forget that neither disease is found in Asia or that the horses would be unable to compete (or do anything, for that matter) if they had either of those diseases. Forget the helpful intervention of the Federation Equestre International, the world governing body of equestrians sport. Forget the international health experts from the EU. Forget that the tests were simply redone and the new results are in and the horses test negative.
One thing not to forget is that the Indian horses were tested for 18 diseases while horses from other countries were only tested for six diseases.
"The FEI formally protests most strongly at the existing AQSIQ decision and will seek to make a formal complaint if this situation is not rectified in a reasonable manner as per international norms," state FEI Veterinary Director Graeme Cooke in a letter quoted by the Indian Federation.
The Chinese authorities are clearly dragging their hooves. And with each day that passes, the classes go on in Guangzhou without any Indian contestants. Now the Ministry of Sport in India has ordered all Indian team riders to stay out of the Games (unless of course the Chinese change their minds) and the Indian Equestrian Federation is publishing emails from veterinarians on their web site.
What we have here is an international incident that probably has very little to do with horses. It shows the very dark down side of incomplete or flawed paperwork and the consequences of mishandling horses while in quarantine. Your country could be going nowhere. And there's nothing you--or anyone in higher places--can do about it.
by Fran Jurga | The Jurga Report at Equisearch.com
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