The movement of horses to and from the United Kingdom hasn’t been affected by the recent small outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease at two farms in Surrey in southern England. Overseas-trained runners can continue to run in races in Great Britain providing the correct certification has been completed.
Restrictions placed on certain trainers in the affected area, imposed following the outbreak, were relaxed as of Aug. 13.
The stables that fell within a 10-kilometer surveillance zone, near the two farms where the disease was found, had been warned by the British Horseracing Authority, under guidance from the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs, that they wouldn’t be able to ship horses to any race meets at home or abroad. However, with the disease looking to have been contained, trainers in the surveillance zone are now free to run their horses, providing they carry out the necessary bio-security measures when transporting them to the racecourse.
Restrictions on trainers, should they lie within the current three-kilometer protection zones in Surrey, remain in place. Though horses cannot be infected by foot-and-mouth disease, the virus that causes the disease is spread in material from infected animals or premises.
A serious outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the United Kingdom in 2001 devastated the farming community. It led to more than seven million animals being culled and cost the agricultural industry an estimated £8 billion ($16 billion). The 2001 Cheltenham Festival, the highest profile race meet for steeplechase horses in Great Britain, had to be abandoned following the 2001 outbreak.
It is thought the source of the latest outbreak was the Institute for Animal Health’s Pirbright laboratory site in Surrey, used by vaccine manufacturer Merial.