Tools: Save | Print | " target="_blank" class="style1">E-mail | Most Read
HK Considers Revising Equestrian Quarantine Rule
Adjust font size:

The government is looking at revising its quarantine requirements after some of the world's top riding countries threatened not to send their best horses for the 2008 Olympic events in Hong Kong.
The US and German equestrian federations have voiced their discontent at measures introduced by the SAR authorities relating to the import of horses for the games. The requirements could mean a horse spends almost a month away from home. Horse owners are reluctant to have their charges sidelined from other competitions for so long.

According to the import protocol announced by the government's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department in March, competing horses will be imported via quarantine stables located at several designated transportation hubs around the world.

They will be required to undergo a period of seven days pre-export isolation in these overseas quarantine stables and 10 days of post-arrival isolation in Hong Kong. The quarantine period is already shorter than that for the Sydney Games in 2000, which had 14 days prior to the departure from their respective countries and another 14-day post-arrival period.

In announcing the regulations in March, the government stated: "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."

However, according to the rules of the FEI, the sport's world governing body, the exact period would be much longer because the horses would need to spend time traveling to Hong Kong and the 10 days of post-arrival isolation would not be counted until the last contingent of horses reached Hong Kong.

FEI has stipulated that they would not allow more than 50 horses to arrive in Hong Kong each day. With 250 horses in the competitions, at least another five days will be added to the post-arrival isolation ahead of a two-week competition period. That makes almost one month for the horses to say outside their home country.

At the 2008 Olympic Games Equestrian Events Committee meeting held in Hong Kong last week, there were some heated exchanges on whether the quarantine period should be reduced. Pang Chung, honorary secretary general of the Sports Federation and Olympic Committee of Hong Kong and a member of the equestrian committee, said as far as he understood, the government had agreed to review the quarantine period because of the strong opposition.

Chaired by Chief Secretary Rafael Hui Si-yan, the committee will consider revising the 10-day post-arrival period.

Quarantine arrangements have often been a problem for Olympic equestrian events. In the most notorious case, the competition was moved to Sweden's capital Stockholm from Australia when the Melbourne Olympic Games organisers posted a six-month quarantine period in 1956.

(South China Morning Post May 26, 2006)

Tools: Save | Print | " target="_blank" class="style1">E-mail | Most Read

Related Stories
Equestrians Head to Hong Kong Pastures
IOC Speaks Up for HK Olympic Events
IOC Impressed by HK's Legacy Plan
HK Set Health Requirements for Imported Equestrian Horses
Olympics: HK Equestrians Given Wild-Cards Entries
SiteMap | About Us | RSS | Newsletter | Feedback

Copyright © All Rights Reserved E-mail: Tel: 86-10-88828000 京ICP证 040089号