Royal Welsh U-turn on flu jabs as 25 outbreaks confirmed so far in July

 

Organisers of the Royal Welsh Show have changed their requirements to state that all equine entries must be vaccinated against flu to attend the event (22 to 25 July).

Concerns had been raised, last month, that the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society was “strongly advising and encouraging” owners to ensure equine flu vaccinations were up to date – but not insisting on it.

But yesterday (9 July), the society released a statement saying it had changed its policy.

“In light of changing circumstances and advice from animal health professionals, the society has made a decision, after considering a number of options, to allow only horses vaccinated against equine flu to attend this year’s Royal Welsh Show,” the statement read.

“Vaccinated horses must have received both the first and second doses (primary course) of vaccines and will be asked to provide proof of this along with their passport during spot checks.”

The society said this had “not been an easy decision to make” but that members felt it would be preferable to cancelling the equine classes, an option it had also considered.

“We understand this is going to be a disappointing outcome for some exhibitors, but the welfare of the animals attending the show must be our priority,” the statement said.

There were 41 confirmed equine flu outbreaks in June, more than in any other month this year, a resurgence the Animal Health Trust believes is owing to increased movement and mixing of horses at events. By 9 July, 25 outbreaks had been confirmed this month.

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“Putting the welfare of horses first, within this fast-changing picture, the society has decided that all equines attending this year’s Royal Welsh Show must be properly vaccinated,” the society said.

“We will continue to work with our own veterinary professionals, the chief veterinary officer (Wales) and exhibitors to minimise the spread of animal disease.”

The two vaccinations must have been given at least seven days before the animal enters the showground.

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