Horse exports set for European Union
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, said a fresh consignment of horses was set for export to the European Union, via Mauritius.
“We are set for another export scheduled for either February or March, to be confirmed shortly. Despite an incident of African Horse Sickness (AHS) last year in our AHS Controlled area, our horses remain in demand across the world. Our vets implemented control measures immediately after the outbreak of AHS occurred, and in this way, we were able to control the spread of the disease. In the latter half of 2018, we are hoping that the Food and Veterinary Organisation, an EU inspectorate, will conduct an audit on our AHS protocol implementation. It is our goal to explore routes to other countries as well. This would be possible after a successful inspection re-instating our direct horse exports to the EU.”
In 2016, 191 horses were exported from the Western Cape.
Minister Winde said the Western Cape Government had investigated possibilities which would allow direct export to countries around the world. Currently exported horses are required to serve a three month quarantine period in Mauritius on top of the three weeks already spent in quarantine in Cape Town, before going on to their final destination.
One option considered was the establishment of a lock-down facility in the province, possibly at the Kenilworth Race Course, which would serve as a quarantine, transit and export station. Minister Winde said this was still a possibility, but that the province’s current focus was on staying AHS-free and reinstating direct exports in 2018.
“Our state vets and partners such as the Equine Research Centre are committed to understanding the science of the disease; and we’re doing some innovative work in that space. Once we pass the EU audit in 2018, we will have increased market access, and can revisit plans for the lock-down facility.”
Minister Winde said a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test, which is used to amplify trace amounts of DNA, has been developed by the Equine Research Centre here in South Africa.
“This test has now been internationally validated and will be listed in the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) manual as a recommended test for AHS in future. A risk assessment was completed for the export of horses from South Africa and published in 2016 which further assisted in reassuring our trading partners around importing horses from us. We have moved to address the concerns raised around AHS; our horses undergo stringent pre-export quarantine, and post-arrival quarantine if necessary, with the use of several PCR tests.”
This week the annual ban on the direct movement of horses into the Western Cape’s African Horse Sickness (AHS) Controlled Area zones came into effect.
The high risk AHS season is from 1 February to 30 June. In order to manage the risk, all horses entering the province during these months will be held at an approved facility for a minimum of 14 days.
After this period, they will be tested to prove they are free of AHS. This test will take place at a lab approved by the National Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. Once cleared through this process, the horses will be able to enter the Western Cape’s AHS Controlled Area.
Kindly see attached the notice of the movement ban and the Standard Operating Procedure for AHS Stop-Over Quarantine.
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture
Western Cape Government
Physical Address: 142 Long Street, Cape Town
Tel: 021 483 3550
Cell: 060 970 4301