Dubai Dispels Foot and Mouth Fears; Related Stories

The Emirates Racing Association is dismissing fears that the European outbreak of foot and mouth disease will affect the March 24 Dubai World Cup meeting. Officials in the United Arab Emirates ministry of agriculture are moving quickly to dispel fears of a possible outbreak of the disease in their country.

Tom Morton, veterinary advisor to the ministry of agriculture on equine matters, emphasized that a suspect case was found in imported cattle in an import slaughterhouse in Al Ain, 150 kilometers from Dubai. Steps to restrict movement from the area have been taken and a full investigation is being carried out.

Morton said that on advice from the Foot and Mouth Reference Laboratory in the United Kingdom, steps were taken several weeks ago to introduce a disinfection protocol for all horses arriving from the European Union.

Quarantine facilities that the Dubai World Cup horses are housed in are such that the risk of them coming in contact with any disease is negligible, according to Morton. The facilities have been inspected by veterinary authorities from a number of countries and are considered some of the best in the world.

All horses in the Emirates for the Dubai World Cup meeting are held in separate regional groups, with horses from the European Union in a separate quarantine facility 1,500 meters away from the other groups. Their training times are separate and there will be no contact between horses from different regions until race night. Morton said that foot and mouth disease would not survive under this regime, let alone be passed onto other horses or transported by horses returning home.

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