This article first appeared in our News Pages in early 2010. Updated in June 2010, it is reproduced here complete with some relevant links for quick and ready reference.
The discovery in January 2010 that two imported horses in Wiltshire were suffering from Equine Infectious Anaemia (Swamp Fever) came as a shock to many. The outbreak emphasized our vulnerability so long as horses can be moved easily from countries having a prevalence of the disease. EIA reached the UK through shady importation of Romanian horses which are not tested if intended for slaughter in Italy. But some animals are being diverted by unscrupulous dealers via France for sale in the UK. Under the current Tripartite Agreement no checks are required on horses imported from France or Ireland. A 10 Downing Street Petition seeks to amend the TPA and limit test-free importation to certain specific categories. For more information about Swamp Fever see the websites:
http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2010/100119a.htm and the latest bulletin at:
The Quarterly Disease Surveillance Reports produced jointly by Defra, The Animal Trust and the British Equine Veterinary Association provide an insight into the work of monitoring and prevention which protects us against not just EIA but a whole range of other threats. You can see the current report at:
The Downing Street petition created by Gill Gilson to change the Tripartite Agreement on the movement of horses closed on 6th June 2010 with just 307 signatures.
On 10th June representatives from the UK, France and Ireland met in Dublin to discuss the terms of the agreement but failed to find any concord for change. 30.6.10