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Calls for change over US deport or destroy approach for imported horses *H&H Plus*

Owners of horses who test “non-negative” for certain diseases on their arrival in the US can be told the animals must either be deported, at high cost, or put down. H&H speaks to some of those affected, US authorities and other experts...

A call has been made for change to the “euthanise or deport” protocol for horses who test “non-negative” for certain equine diseases on arrival in the US following recent cases.

Equines are tested for piroplasmosis (a tick-borne disease), dourine (parasitic venereal disease, eradicated in many countries), glanders and equine infectious anaemia (EIA) on arrival in the country. The vast majority of the thousands of horses who arrive from abroad test negative and pass through the border with no issue.

For the few who give false positives or “non-negative” tests – the phrase used by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to describe anything that is not clearly a negative test – the repercussions have significant moral and financial consequences for owners.

The USDA has told H&H it is “reviewing the current protocol”.

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