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UK horse imports temporarily suspended due to tooth and mouth disease.

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AFFA01/47WT 14 March 2001

UK horse imports temporarily suspended due to foot and mouth disease

The Agriculture Minister, Warren Truss, has welcomed the decision by the Director of Animal and Plant Quarantine to suspend the importation of horses from the United Kingdom until further notice.

"Although Australia’s quarantine systems are already among the toughest in the world, in view of the rapidly changing situation in the UK, the Director of Quarantine has informed me he wants to fully re-examine current procedures," Mr Truss said today.

"The suspension of horses will allow a full assessment of the adequacy of our import arrangements for horses from the UK.

"The suspension will allow for an Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS) officers both in the UK and Australia, in association with Biosecurity Australia, to examine all aspects of horse transport and import quarantine arrangements.

"The suspension will remain in place until that assessment is completed and an announcement is made by the Director of Quarantine.

"Our quarantine processes need to be flexible to meet changing circumstances, such as those unfolding in the UK," Mr Truss said.

While horses cannot contract FMD, they can potentially carry the virus on the coats or hooves, unless properly cleaned or disinfected. FMD virus can also be carried on tack gear and other horse equipment.

Currently, Australia’s quarantine requirements require at least 2 weeks pre-departure quarantine, and on arrival another two weeks quarantine. As part of the quarantine process, horses’ hooves and coats are thoroughly cleaned to remove viruses such as foot and mouth.

People seeking general information about FMD, can now contact a specially established hotline number — 1800 444 023.

Minister's office: Yvonne Best (02) 6277 7520 or 0418 415 772

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Last updated 14 March 2001

URL: Commonwealth of Australia 2000