Horses and Avian influenza
The BHIC has received a number of queries relating to how an avian influenza outbreak may affect the movement of horses and ponies, or competitions in the UK. It is our understanding from the current DEFRA advice that movement restrictions apply to live poultry, live birds, wild feathered game, products or hatching eggs only. However, DEFRA will, if necessary, plan to close public footpaths around a 3km exclusion zone (which could be relevant to horse interests whose gallops or arenas for example are in close proximity to any poultry farms) but they will do this only if a veterinary risk assessment shows this is necessary to reduce the risk of spread of disease. These zones "may be extended if the risk is justified".
DEFRA guidance cites the control of movements of people and machinery on infected premises and control/surveillance zones as 'relatively simple' as the disease is spread by faeces so would mean disinfection of people and machinery at entrances and exits. For more information and current status visit the DEFRA website.
March 20th, 2006