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TBA maintains fight to end India export ban

THE Thoroughbred Breeders' Association is to maintain pressure on the British government to help end the ban on exportingthoroughbreds to India.

The Indian trade in thoroughbreds is a lucrative one, which this week saw agent Hugo Merry secure 13 horses at the Goffs February sale, having purchased 31 per cent of the Goffs' mare trade last autumn for the same market, spending €1,712,000 in the process.

Yearlings @ Goffs

Purchases for India underpinned the Goffs breeding stock sales

  PICTURE: Caroline Norris  

Currently horses from Britain cannot be sold to India due to concerns over Contagious Equine Metritis, a venereal disease that was discovered in a non-thoroughbred in October.

Before horses can be exported to India, Britain needs to be free of CEM for 20 months, which marks an easing of restrictions from the previous three-year period.

In a bid to ease the restrictions further, the Department for the Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs' chief veterinary officer Nigel Gibbens has detailed to his Indiancounterparts the country's extensive CEM testing procedures in thoroughbred studs. He also highlighted that 19,000 samples tested in Britain in the first half of last year showed that they were clear of CEM.

Louise Kemble, chief executive of the TBA, said: "CEM is endemic in Europe in the non-thoroughbred and it is these horses that bring it in to this country – it was a non-thoroughbred case that caused all this and we are always at risk of another one coming along. Weare making every effort to try and change that.

"It is a similar situation to the EVA (Equine Viral Arteritis) case found in horses imported from Romania (the first case in Britain for nearly 40 years). The government are aware of the financial damage these disease cases can do, but the people who import these non-thoroughbreds aren’t. We need to raise awareness of the implications an outbreak can have."

October's CEM case came at a damaging time for the British bloodstock industry, on the eve of the major yearling and breeding stock sales.

Kemble added: "That was why we were so conscious of the need to get the ban lifted before the December sales. We will continue to keep the pressure against the ban up on all sides throughout this year, we can’t drop it and pick it up again later in the year, it’s worth too much to the industry."

American horses are also banned from export to India due to CEM concerns.




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