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Minister Smith welcomes thoroughbred industry response to Equine Health Risks

-Given the industry's pre-eminent position in the world, standing still is not an option -

The Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Brendan Smith TD, today acknowledged the commitment of Irish thoroughbred breeders in responding to the challenges posed by various infectious equine diseases.

Speaking at the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association (ITBA) National Biosecurity Symposium, Minister Smith said that the Irish bloodstock industry holds a "pre-eminent position in the world".  He said that given the challenges facing the industry "standing still is not an option". Minister Smith called for a 'whole of industry' approach to the risks associated with equine health matters and commended thoroughbred breeders whom he described as "acknowledged leaders within the industry who have the capability to take a leadership role in response to the threats, risks and responses associated with equine health matters".

Pointing to the benefits of the application of good biosecurity measures, the Minister said "each stakeholder has an individual responsibility to themselves and their colleagues to ensure that they do not contribute to unnecessary and avoidable risks.  In addition to this moral responsibility, they have a legal responsibility to only use animal remedies that are licensed for use in Ireland".

Minister Smith also welcomed an ITBA-led industry initiative to establish a working group to study the key findings of a recent UCD Equine Group Review on Horse Welfare in Ireland.  The group is due to produce an interim report by the 31st October next and the Minister said that he "very much looked forward to the group's deliberations".

Date Released: 22 July 2010