BHB May Relax Policy on Foot-and-Mouth Restrictions

The British Horseracing Board is set to relax its tough stance of not
racing at courses within 10 kilometers of a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak. BHB directors were to be told at a meeting Wednesday that further disruption to the flat racing season in Britain could occur if the policy isn't changed.

The BHB's current policy is stricter than the regulations laid down by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Foods, which has said that racing between three and 10 kilometers of an outbreak doesn't pose a risk.

Currently, 14 of Britain's 59 courses aren't able to race -- Carlisle,
Cartmel, Catterick, Cheltenham, Chepstow, Hexham, Newcastle, Sedgefield,
Stratford, Thirsk, Towcester, Uttoxeter, Worcester, and Wolverhampton.

The steeplechase season has lost 158 races. The number of foot-and-mouth
cases is increasing and has reached 1,201, with 38 new cases reported Tuesday. More than 440,000 animals are due for slaughter, and 764,000 animals have been put down.

Even so, there have been signs that overseas authorities are more relaxed
about horse movements. Ireland allowed horses to travel to recent British
breeze-up sales and to participate at the Martell Grand National
meeting at Aintree. The horses are unable to return to
Ireland for the moment.