The British Horseracing Authority has been in constant liaison with Defra (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) since the first outbreak last month.
Horses are not susceptible to infection by Foot and Mouth Disease – Defra make this clear on their website, defra.gov.uk, which has a wealth of information relating to the disease, and is regularly updated.
However, just as with other non-susceptible animals (such as dogs and cats), people and inanimate objects such as vehicles, horses can be involved in physically spreading infection.
There is little more risk in the movement of people or vehicles associated with Racing than with other everyday movements (a trip to the supermarket, car boot sales and the like).
British Horseracing recognises that it has a responsibility and role to play in doing anything it can to limit the spread of the disease.
We are therefore taking measures that are both proportionate and responsible:
Within 3km Protection Zones
– Defra prohibits any gathering of animals, including horses, inside a Protection Zone
– No racing to take place
– Trainers lying within a Protection Zone unable to have runners
Within 10km Surveillance Zones
– Racecourses can stage fixtures, provided they carry out biosecurity measures as laid out in our guidelines. This essentially involves the disinfection of vehicles on arrival and departure
Ascot, and three other racecourses: Kempton Park, Sandown Park and Windsor currently lie within a Surveillance Zone. Kempton Park and Sandown Park have both staged meetings in recent weeks and carried out the necessary measures
– Trainers lying within a Surveillance Zone are able to have runners provided they carry out biosecurity measures – disinfection of their vehicles prior to departing for the races
There are two trainers lying within the existing Surveillance Zone
The measures have been approved by Defra, and it should be noted that they go over and above Defra’s own requirements regarding Surveillance Zones
A core message from the Government is that the countryside is ‘open for business’
Racing is a multi-billion pound industry, vital to the rural economy in many areas of the country, and supports tens of thousands of jobs
International Horse Movement
Extra certification requirements were introduced for horses travelling to and from Great Britain, Ireland and France at the time of the first outbreak in August, but this is not the case this time around.