Australia Expands Ban to All of Europe

Australian quarantine officials reacted quickly to the confirmed case of Foot and Mouth disease in France by expanding its horse ban to the whole European Union.

Australia's Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) stated the
import ban would also apply to any other country in which foot- and-mouth disease is endemic, or in which there is an outbreak. This means Argentina was an immediate and automatic inclusion to those 'temporarily suspended'.

The AQIS ban is ostensibly on animals directly affected by the disease, and products from them, but it was this detail that netted thoroughbreds: "Horses and other animals not FMD-susceptible, but which have the potential for high-level farm contact, will also be subject to the temporary import restrictions."

The European ban at least ended confusion on whether Ireland was included in the original ban on March 13. Many took the 'Ireland' in the AQIS announcement regarding the United Kingdom and Ireland to mean Northern Ireland, rather than Ireland itself. Studs were still seeking clarification when the widened ban was announced.

If it stays in place long enough to prevent the shuttle, Danehill will
have his first break from dual seasons since he started shuttling in 1990. It was a dispute over giving the horse a break from shuttling which led to Coolmore buying out Arrowfield's controlling interest for $US10 million in 1994.

Another ramification would be that dual Australian Horse of the Year Octagonal would be stranded in France until 2002. The champion New Zealand-bred son of Zabeel has been shuttling to and from dub Quesnay since 1998, a year after he started his secondary career at Woodlands in New South Wales.

A total of 20 of the 33 shuttlers from Europe last year were from
Ireland, eight from England, four from France, and Brief Truce from Switzerland. With Darley intending to directly enter the shuttle business with four horses, numbers from European studs had been expected to increase.

Oliver Tait, to manage Darley's Australian operations, said that if the ban stays in place until it is too late to bring stallions for Europe, substitutes would most likely be found from Darley stallions in Japan and North America.