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No longer parked at Parkes - EI lockdown gates open

The last horse has left the Parkes Showground 51 days after the equine influenza (EI) lock down was put in place, the NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI), said on Sunday.

The Parkes Showground was placed in quarantine after animals at Centennial Park, Sydney, were confirmed infected with equine influenza (EI) on August 24.

"Twenty six horses and their owners left the Parkes Showground at daybreak this morning," NSW DPI deputy chief veterinary officer, Steve Dunn, said today.

"It's been a long wait at Parkes to confirm all horses have recovered from the horses flu, introduced unknowingly by horses which had travelled to compete in the Parkes show from Centennial Park before the first case was confirmed.

"We had to make certain that the remaining horses at the showground had developed immunity and were no longer excreting the virus before opening the gates.

"The last thing we want is horses leaving Parkes and infecting other parts of the State.

"We are confident there is no chance of this occurring now, the horses have been tested and given the all clear to return home and present NO risk of spreading disease."

NSW DPI Parkes site supervisor, Greg Glasgow, said there were scenes of jubilation and tears as horses were loaded onto floats and trucks, camping equipment was packed away and owners said their farewells to each other.

"There was definitely a sense of relief and excitement when the owners received their permits from DPI before beginning their homeward bound journey," he said.

"In some cases, people were sad to say goodbye to the new friends they made at Parkes.

"I thank those owners who stayed by their animals' side at Parkes for their co-operation and support for the EI eradication campaign.

"Their inconvenience has prevented the further spread of the disease … the whole horse industry should be thankful for that."

Horse leaving Parkes were destined for Candelo, Cobargo, Bega, Nowra, Peak Hill, Alectown, Tomingley and Goonumbla


- NSW Dept of Primary Industries