Native breed society cancels show after outcry over non-compulsory flu vacs

A breed society has announced the cancellation of its summer show owing to equine flu – having previously said it would not insist entrants be vaccinated.

The Dales Pony Society summer show due take place on 3 August, which included a Horse of the Year Show qualifier, has been cancelled.

In a statement yesterday (23 July), chair of council for the society Anne Alderson said: “The show scheduled to take place at Streatlam Farm, Barnard Castle has been cancelled due to the increasing number of equine flu cases in northern areas and subsequent strong feeling among members and others that unvaccinated ponies should not attend.

“It is now too late to introduce an effective mandatory vaccination policy and the society has been left with no option but to regretfully cancel the event.”

The HOYS National Pony Society mountain and moorland ridden Dales pony of the year qualifier has been moved to the society’s performance show on 25 August at West Park Arena, Wolsingham – and ponies must be vaccinated for this event.

“The judges remain as Brian Williams for ride and Ernest Coulthard for conformation. All entrants will be contacted to check if they still wish to compete. All ponies at this event must be vaccinated on a 12-month basis,” said the statement.

The statement added that all competitors entered for the summer show will receive a full refund for entry fees in due course.

This cancellation follows an earlier council statement on 17 July, in which the society announced it would not be insisting ponies be vaccinated against flu for the summer show.

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“Following the outbreak of equine influenza earlier this year, the council took the stance that mandatory flu vaccinations would not be required at the Dales Pony Society spring and summer shows, but strongly recommended that ponies were vaccinated against equine flu,” said the statement.

“At the council meeting of 8 July this policy was reviewed in light of information received from the British Equine Veterinary Association that the flu outbreak was in fact worsening, particularly in the northern areas following Appleby Fair. Following discussion it was agreed, as a majority decision, to leave the policy unchanged for the summer show as the schedule had already gone out. The policy is to be reviewed again at the council meeting scheduled for 16 September.

As of yesterday there had been 44 confirmed flu outbreaks this month.

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