Melbourne Cup horses on home stretch after completing biosecurity

With just five days until the race that stops the nation, all 26 international competitors flown in for the Melbourne Cup Carnival have now completed their biosecurity clearances.

Australia’s Chief Veterinary Officer, Dr Mark Schipp, said the quarantine process for animals coming into Australia is critical to protect our biosecurity.

“All animals and plants coming into Australia need to comply with our biosecurity conditions to ensure they don’t bring pests and diseases into the country that could potentially harm our $60 billion agricultural industry,” Dr Schipp said.

“International racehorses spend at least 14 days in pre-export quarantine overseas, followed by at least 14 days of post-arrival quarantine in Australia before they can be released.

“Quarantined horses are tested for a range of biosecurity risks, including equine influenza, to ensure they aren’t carrying contagious and potentially deadly diseases.

“An outbreak of equine influenza in 2007 infected over 10,000 horses within the space of three months, with over $1 billion spent to contain and eradicate it.

“While in quarantine, horses are housed at Werribee International Horse Centre in Victoria, which is equipped with training facilities so they can maintain condition in the lead-up to races.

“Anyone who has contact with the quarantined horses must be decontaminated and the horses are separated by a minimum of 100 metres from all Australian horses.

“The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources is responsible for keeping exotic and destructive pests and diseases out of Australia.

“Australia is fortunate to be free of many of the pests and diseases found throughout the world, so it’s important we take strict measures to keep biosecurity threats at bay.”

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