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All NSW horses to be vaccinated

At a meeting on Monday Racing NSW CEO Peter V'Landys and Australian Racing Board chief executive Andrew Harding addressed Primary Industries ministers from each state and territory, the federal Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry, Peter McGauran, and the director-generals of all state and federal Primary Industries departments on the need for a national mass vaccination strategy.

The outcome of the meeting was that it was decided to allow vaccination of thoroughbreds to resume in green and amber zones in NSW, with V'Landys paying tribute to McGauran and NSW Primary Industries Minister Ian Macdonald.

Previously a ban had been placed on vaccinating horses in virus-free green zones in NSW but vaccination was allowed to take place in the unaffected Victoria.

"Once again Peter McGauran and Ian Macdonald have been warriors for the racing industry," he said. "They realise how important it is for us to have these vaccinations take place to act as an insurance policy for the unaffected areas, so we will resume with the process of administering them on Tuesday."

11,000 horses will now be vaccinated within days, with the Northern Rivers and Riverina regions the first to be vaccinated, and eventually all racehorses would be vaccinated, followed by yearlings, mares and foals.

In other equine influenza (EI) news Newcastle racecourse was locked down on Monday after EI was confirmed in a horse in Rod Byrnes's stables. Over the weekend horses from Alan Scorse's stables returned negative tests for EI.

If the Newcastle infection reacts like Rosehill then the virus may have a milder impact on the horses. Both racecourse precincts were vaccinated a week ago, not giving horses complete immunity which is expected to take two weeks, but on the evidence of Rosehill over the past days the impact is milder than experienced with Randwick stabled horses.

The Newcastle outbreak completes the major training centres in and around Sydney with Gosford, Wyong and Kembla Grange the only centres to escape to-date. Randwick's horses have now been released for spelling after recovery, while Warwick Farm will be half-way through the recovery process, and Rosehill only just starting the infection stage last weekend.

With all horses vaccinated the Warwick Farm, Rosehill and Newcastle horses should be able to spell off-site earlier than Randwick's horses as they will not have other horses to infect.

- Rob Burnet, Thoroughbred News


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