The Australian Equestrian Federation (EA) has revoked the EA Hendra Vaccination By-Law effective immediately on 2 February 2015. The panel (commissioned by the EA Board) will remain in place to complete a full assessment on the risk that the Hendra virus creates for EA events nationally.
EA Chairman, Dr Warwick Vale, said the decision to revoke the by-law is designed to provide the panel with clear space on the potential risks the Hendra virus presents for the sport long term.
“I recognise that our members require more information, more time and more engagement about the risks that that Hendra virus creates for our members, our clubs and events nationally. That is why we will keep the panel of experts in place to carry out the review. The decision to revoke the current By-Law provides the panel with clear space to provide a truly independent assessment and recommendations about how the sport should address this issue in the long term. Member and horse welfare remain at the centre of all decision making on this issue and the Board welcomes the advice from the expert panel to assist in addressing Hendra and the Hendra vaccine in the future,” said Dr Vale.
In addition to reviewing the risks that the Hendra virus creates for EA events nationally, the panel will also focus on export considerations, other stakeholder/industry policies as well as adverse reactions to the vaccine (to date), as these areas were highlighted as strong interest from the public consultation.
Findings will be presented to the EA Board and State Branches and made available to the public. EA has established several formal channels for members and the public to share their concerns, experiences and suggestions related to the Hendra vaccine and hope that individuals take the opportunity to use those channels.
The preliminary meeting of the independent panel tasked with the review of the Hendra Vaccination By-Law has already been held following the first public consultation period, which resulted in more than 100 submissions. The panel are eager to engage further and fully with those members and clubs who contributed through the review.*
The review panel anticipates handing down its recommendations to Equestrian Australia Board prior to July 2015.
The Hendra Vaccination By-Law was suspended by EA on 3 September 2014 and following the 2014 EA AGM, the State Branches supported the EA Board to conduct a national consultative review. The EA Board acted swiftly to appoint a panel to carry out the process which is ongoing.
While the by-law is revoked EA strongly encourages event organising committees to complete a biosecurity risk self-assessment of their event.
The panel consists of the following members:
- Vicki Burgess – Secretary, Eventing NSW; Event Organiser.
- Professor James Gilkerson – Professor of Veterinary Microbiology and Director of the Centre for Equine Infectious Disease at the University of Melbourne.
- Sue McDermott – Chairman, Equestrian Tasmania; NCAS Coach.
- Dr Deborah Middleton – Research Team Leader and Senior Veterinary Pathologist at the CSIRO. Dr Middleton leads projects within the Animal Biosecurity research area at the CSIRO Australian Animal Health Laboratory (AAHL).
- Dr Cameron Osborne – Sports and Exercise Medicine Physician; President, Queensland International Three Day Event.
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