County show cancels all horse classes due to flu outbreak

A popular county show has announced it has cancelled all horse classes at this year’s event as fresh outbreaks of equine flu continue to be diagnosed.

The Anglesey Agricultural Show (13 to 14 August) will not host horse classes in 2019, following a confirmed outbreak of flu on the island off the north coast of Wales on 5 July.

In a statement the Anglesey Agricultural Society said: “After careful consideration and consultation with professionals regarding equine flu, the society have considered a range of options and we regret to inform you that we have decided to cancel all horse sections at this year’s show.

“The primary reason for taking this decision is the welfare of the animals and a recent confirmed case of equine flu on Anglesey.”

The show, which attracts around 60,000 visitors, was due to hold heavy and light horse showing classes alongside British Showjumping, and included qualifying opportunities for Horse of the Year Show, the Royal International Horse Show and Ponies (UK).

The society said the show will go ahead with other livestock sections carrying on as usual.

“We will work on arranging an exciting line up of main ring attractions. Please keep an eye out for updates,” continued the statement, which added that horses will be back for the event in 2020.

The news follows the announcement on Wednesday (9 July) from the organisers of the Royal Welsh Show that they were changing their requirements to state that equine entries must be vaccinated against flu to attend the event (22 to 25 July).

Pembrokeshire County Show (13 to 15 August) announced on Thursday (10 July) that following “ongoing developments” the society had reviewed its policy and while it had considered cancelling, following professional advice, it had implemented a mandatory vaccination regime and required all equines to have received the primary course.

“Checks will be made to confirm compliance with the mandatory vaccination requirements. Owners of all equines must provide proof of an up-to-date influenza vaccination record in order for their equines to be exhibited,” the statement said.

“This notice is being issued at this time in an attempt to provide ample time and opportunity for those equines currently not vaccinated to be injected prior to this year’s show.”

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By 10 July, 26 outbreaks of equine flu had been confirmed this month.

Dr Richard Newton, director of epidemiology and disease surveillance at the Animal Health Trust told H&H the action being taken by the shows was a “step in the right direction”.

“Whilst it is a shame that some events have been cancelled, we should consider that they are however also taking responsibility, albeit in a different way, by not gathering unvaccinated animals and this action will hopefully also contribute to reducing exposure and spread of flu,” said Dr Newton.

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