The FEI today hosted a two-hour stakeholder consultation session to review comprehensive draft ‚Return To Competition protocols’ prior to the restart of FEI competitions in mainland Europe on 12 April 2021.
These measures are aimed at, in the short term, minimising the risks associated with the restart of FEI competitions in mainland Europe on 12 April 2021 and, in the long term, increasing biosecurity knowledge, skills and awareness among all FEI stakeholders in order to prevent a recurrence of the devastating EHV-1 outbreak.
Areas covered in the draft requirements include biosecurity plans and mitigation plans for outbreaks of infectious disease for all FEI Events; mandatory advance PCR testing (for certain designated events only) and temperature monitoring; enhanced Examination on Arrival external to the event stabling area for all horses; athlete self-certification for the health status of their horses; stabling (including isolation stables and restrictions on access); minimising nose-to-nose contact between horses; control of dogs; and the importance of basic hygiene.
The proposals, which received broad consensus from the group, cover pre-event, the duration of the event and post-event.The topic of vaccinations was discussed and the FEI Veterinary Director advised that there are no vaccines which are effective against the neurological form of the virus that has caused the current outbreak. Vaccinated horses have still become sick and, in addition, there are currently very limited supplies of EHV vaccines available in Europe.
In a brief opening address, FEI President Ingmar De Vos reiterated that there will be a full and thorough investigation into the circumstances of the outbreak and that the findings will be published. “Our goal is to learn from this and not to point fingers”, he said.
The community will be advised of the new requirements before the end of March in order to allow sufficient time for implementation.