All horses to participate in the equestrian events of the 2008
Olympic Games will have to go through quarantine before and after
entering Hong Kong, the venue of the events.
A senior official in charge of the program said the purpose of
the process is to ensure the horses' health.
In an interview with BOCOG's official website in Hong Kong on
Tuesday, Dr. York Chow, Secretary for Health, Welfare and Food of
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) said about 300 horses
will take part in the Olympics and some 70 will compete at the
Paralympic Games, coming from over 40 countries and regions.
The horses will be subject to a one-week quarantine period in
six quarantine centers located in North America, Europe and Oceania
(Australia and New Zealand), according to an arrangement made
between Hong Kong, the International Equestrian Federation and the
World Organization for Animal Health, Chow said, adding that only
those horses with health certificates will compete.
Internationally recognized experts will make body temperature,
blood and urine checkups to make sure the horses are not infected
by any communicable or epidemic diseases.
After entering Hong Kong, the horses will again go through a
10-day quarantine to avoid contact with local horses and infection
by any diseases. The Hong Kong authorities will provide each horse
with a single shed. There will be five stables, each containing
over 50 such sheds. Medical services will be on hand for each
stable and serious cases will be treated at a Hong Kong horse
Dr. Chow expected the medical team to be composed of up to 30
specialists, including some from the Chinese mainland. The
participating teams may bring their own veterinarians whom will be
issued provisional licenses.
The participating horses are usually accompanied and taken care
of by their own stable hands. However, Hong Kong is ready to
provide such services if needed, he said.
As far as the horses' forage is concerned, it can either be
brought in, provided certificates of inspection, quarantine and
health are given by the authorities governing the forage's
The horses, if in healthy condition, can conduct training at
their respective stables during the quarantine period. In addition,
they will be able to train for another week before participating in
the Olympic competition.
"Hong Kong is able to extend a high-level veterinarian service,
however, to take care of 300 horses in a real challenge," Dr. Chow
Dr. Chow, 59, is an orthopedic surgeon by profession and he took
up the current post two years ago. He said he felt honored to be
involved in the Olympic quarantine work and believed that the
Olympic events will help enhance the equestrian industry in Hong
The tenth Beijing-Hong Kong Economic Cooperation Symposium will
be held in Hong Kong on November 15. The website took the
opportunity to conduct the interview intended to update on Hong
Kong's preparation for the equestrian events.
(BOCOG November 15, 2006)