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HK Set Health Requirements for Imported Equestrian Horses
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Director of Hong Kong Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Stella Hung announced that the health requirements for imported equestrian horses for 2008 Olympic Equestrian Events had been worked out.

Announcing the horse import arrangements for 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Equestrian Events to be held in Hong Kong at a press conference, she said the requirements were worked out after consultation with the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), the International Federation for Equestrian Sports (FEI), the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG) and the Hong Kong Jockey Club.

"According to the arrangements, horses for the events will be imported from various countries and regions via quarantine stables located around several designated transportation hubs," Hung said.

"Imported horses will be required to undergo a period of seven days pre-export quarantine in overseas quarantine stables and 10 days of post-arrival isolation in Hong Kong.

"To ensure that exotic diseases of concern are not introduced by the imported equestrian horses to Hong Kong's equine population and to prevent the spread of diseases between competing horses in the events, all imported equestrian horses will be inspected and quarantined and should show no clinical signs of diseases, and undergo relevant tests and vaccinations before entering Hong Kong," she said.

She added these imported equestrian horses shall be accompanied by health certificates issued by the veterinary authority of the exporting places.

As the animal health authority in Hong Kong, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department will issue special permits for the importation of these equestrian horses. Applications for the permits will be processed six month prior to the events.

"We will review the arrangements to take into account prevailing equine disease conditions in other countries and places and introduce relevant arrangements when necessary," the official said.

Speaking at a press conference to announce the import arrangements, Hong Kong Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food, York Chow said Hong Kong had the experience and credentials in equine health.

He said, "Hong Kong has an overall advantage in organizing the events given its extensive experience in horse racing, its status in equine health and its world renowned regulatory framework for equine diseases which is well understood by the international community."

(Xinhua News Agency March 28, 2006)

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