Equine Flu - important update

Following an assessment of the latest information and having taken professional advice regarding Equine Flu, the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society has today considered a range of options, including cancellation of the horse section, following our initial decision to strongly recommend vaccination.

Putting the welfare of horses first, within this fast changing picture, the Society has decided that all equines attending this year’s Royal Welsh Show must be properly vaccinated.

The Society is communicating this decision to all exhibitors and is conscious of the impact this difficult decision may cause.

We will continue to work with our own veterinary professionals, the Chief Veterinary Officer (Wales) and exhibitors to minimise the spread of animal disease.

Cancellation and refund form


 

Vaccination requirement

The society expects all equine entries to have an up-to-date equine influenza vaccination record. They must have received two primary vaccinations which are given not less than 21 days and not more than 92 days apart.

If sufficient time has elapsed the equine entry must also have received a booster vaccination which is given not less than 150 days and not more than 215 days after the second component of the primary vaccination, and further booster vaccinations at intervals of not more than a year apart. None of the vaccinations must have been given on the day of entry to the showground or on any of the six days before entry to the showground.

Note: Minimum requirements are the two primary vaccinations, plus seven days before entry to the showground. Foals six months of age or older must meet the minimum equine influenza vaccination requirement.


 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I bring my horse to the show if it has not been vaccinated?
No

How many vaccinations does my horse need to have received before I can attend?
The society expects all equine entries to have an up-to-date equine influenza vaccination record. They must have received two primary vaccinations which are given not less than 21 days and not more than 92 days apart.

If sufficient time has elapsed the equine entry must also have received a booster vaccination which is given not less than 150 days and not more than 215 days after the second component of the primary vaccination, and further booster vaccinations at intervals of not more than a year apart. None of the vaccinations must have been given on the day of entry to the showground or on any of the six days before entry to the showground.

Note: Minimum requirements are the two primary vaccinations, plus seven days before entry to the showground. Foals six months of age or older must meet the minimum equine influenza vaccination requirement.

What happens if my horse hasn’t had the required vaccinations?
Unfortunately, you will have to withdraw your horse from the Royal Welsh Show this year.

Will I get a refund?
Yes, if you have had to withdraw your entry due to equine flu, you will be entitled to a refund. To claim this refund, you must complete and return the cancellation form by 19 July. This form will be enclosed with your exhibitor packs and can be downloaded from our website: www.rwas.wales

What about all my passes?
As a gesture of good will, the society will allow you to retain all your passes so you are still able to enjoy the show. If you are bringing a vehicle and/or caravan onto the showground, please only park/stay for the duration that your pass allows. Priority will be given to vehicles/boxes containing animals.

I am bringing my vaccinated horses; will I get priority over empty vehicles/boxes when entering the showground?
Yes, we will ensure that any vehicles/boxes containing animals will enter the showground first.

How will you be checking the horse passports and vaccination records?A team of qualified vets and animal health professionals, supported by society stewards and staff, will be vigorously checking all passports and paperwork. Every effort will be made to ensure documents are genuine and correspond to animals entered into the show by scanning microchips and using visual checks of animals, where necessary.

These checks will take place;

• whilst the vehicles are waiting to enter the showground
• in the holding area (North 2)
• at all points of entry
• as additional spot checks throughout the duration of the show
• and on all class winners

Please factor in extra time when arriving at the showground to allow for this checking process.

Any animals found to not have the correct and corresponding documentation or vaccinations records will be turned away and not allowed to enter the showground. Exhibitors found to be using falsified documentation may be subject to disciplinary action and criminal prosecution.

My horse is vaccinated, but a horse on our yard has Equine Flu, can I still come to the show?
No, horses from yards/premises where Equine flu has been suspected/confirmed should not travel to the show.

My horse is vaccinated, is it safe to bring it to the show?
Equine flu is not a notifiable disease, there are no movement restrictions in place and there can never be a 100% guarantee that a horse, vaccinated or not, cannot contract the infection. However, together with animal health professionals and our biosecurity teams, the society is putting in place many measures to help minimise the risks around the equine flu epidemic.

Ultimately, the decision to bring your horse to the Royal Welsh Show, or any other event, is down to you.

If you have any concerns about the health of your horses (fever, cough, lethargy e.t.c.) then they should not travel to the show.

Horses returning from the show should be isolated from any other horses to monitor for any signs of illness.

If you have further concerns, please discuss these with your vet.

Are there any increased biosecurity measures in place because of equine flu?
There will be additional staff disinfecting stables as best as possible between competitors. It is the competitor’s responsibility to ensure the stable has been disinfected prior to their horse’s entry.

During the show there will be regular clearing of muck heaps. Competitors will be asked to utilise designated areas to dispose of used bedding.

We would also advise you to;

• not share water and feed buckets.
• try to avoid allowing your horses to graze at the show.
• not to share tack.
• attempts should be made to limit contact with other horses.

Will you be restricting public access to stable area?
Logistically we are unable to restrict the general public from the stable area. However, we will be placing additional signage and communicating with our visitors that they should try to avoid the area and limit their contact with the animals.

Why wasn’t the decision to implement a vaccine only rule made earlier?
Back in April, when the schedules were published, the society strongly recommended that all entries were to be properly vaccinated against equine flu and that owners should to consult their own vets for details on the correct vaccination procedure. This statement was published on the society website and sent out with all schedules to potential exhibitors. The statement also clearly stated that this guidance was subject to change.

The current equine flu epidemic has gathered pace over the last few weeks. There are now confirmed cases throughout most of Wales and beyond.  In view of the apparent increase in reported cases and with the backdrop of many shows cancelling their equine competitions entirely as a result of the epidemic, the society felt that it had to change the policy to reflect the changing disease picture.  This decision was made entirely on the grounds of animal welfare following advice from the Chief Veterinary Officer and other interested parties.  All options were considered, including the cancellation of all horse sections.

Now that some people will be withdrawing from the show, will you be accepting late entries to make up the numbers?
No, we will not be accepting any further entries.

Am I now able to book additional stables at the show?
If you are already on the waiting list to book another stable, you will be contacted if and when one becomes available.

Will vaccination certificates be made compulsory in the future?
At the moment we are concentrating on this year’s show. However, we will be having many discussions with all relevant stakeholders to see if our rules and regulations and conditions of entry need to be adapted for future events. Any changes will be communicated in due course.



Cancellation and refund form