Mr Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer of The Hong Kong Jockey Club and Vice-Chairman of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, delivers the opening speech on the first day of the OIE Regional Workshop for Asia, the Far East and Oceania held at Happy Valley Racecourse / HKJC (p)
INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION HORSE MOVEMENT
ASIA, THE FAR EAST AND OCEANIA
Hong Kong, 18-20 February 2014
Happy Valley Racecourse in Hong Kong is the scene of a workshop on international competition horse movement, put on by the World Organization for Animal Health and runs from yesterday through tomorrow.
Organized by the OIE, the Hong Kong Jockey Club, the International Equestrian Federation and the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities amongst others, the workshop is being held to address issues relating to the safe and free movement of competing sport horses internationally, and the expansion of the equine industry as a whole. The challenges of horse movement that will be discussed include inconsistent approaches to the application of health regulations and quarantine, which can lead to excessive and irregular health requirements for importation of horses.
In order to address these constraints, the OIE, with the support of the FEI and IFHA and the contributions of a range of experts, is developing the ‘high health, high performance horse’ concept, based on the existing OIE standards. The OIE organizes these workshops, aimed at ultimately harmonizing national health requirements for horse importation, in various regions of the world, and this is the first to be held in Asia. Key public and private sector stakeholders from Asia, the Far East and Oceania are in attendance.
“It is vital for the growth of horse racing and equestrian sport internationally that the movement of horses becomes smoother, without jeopardizing the health status of horses around the world,” said Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer of the Hong Kong Jockey Club and Vice Chairman of the IFHA, in his opening remarks at the workshop. “From the IFHA’s perspective, we want to enable the world’s best horses to participate in the world’s leading events. Cross-border competition is, of course, good for the sport, but it also improves the breed, as increased global competition helps to identify the best horses, many of whom are then involved in the breeding cycle. This historic workshop over the next three days is a wonderful opportunity for continued dialogue between all of us who are striving to make progress in this area and I am grateful to everyone here for their attendance and their input.”
“The OIE recognizes the value of the equine industry, not only because of the increased number of equestrian events worldwide, but also in terms of creating employment,” said Dr Bernard Vallat, Director General of the OIE. “However, we recognize that much of the growth in the horse industry is taking place in the traditional horse sport regions of the world E- urope, North America, Canada and Australia. So facilitation of international horse movement would also allow for emerging countries and regions to tap into the economic potential associated with an increase in numbers of equestrian events, be it horse racing or FEI sport.”
Vallat continued: “The concept of identifying a sub-population of high health, high performance horses, which is in line with the OIE Standards and Principles, is designed to address the perceived issues in terms of global movement of horses.”
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News