European Commission reaffirms high-health status of racehorses

The European Commission (EC) has adopted a decision of the EC Standing Committee on Plants, Animals, Food and Feed to treat horses in the Equine Disease Free Zone (EDFZ) in Conghua, Guangzhou as having equivalent health status as horses in Hong Kong SAR.

This means that horses at the Hong Kong Jockey Club’s Conghua Training Centre (CTC) will be treated the same, for residency purposes prior to temporary export to the 28 member countries of the European Union including the United Kingdom, Ireland and France, as all horses currently at Sha Tin.

The EC decision followed a site inspection carried out in December, in conjunction with the International Conference on the Equine Disease Free Zone (ICEDFZ) jointly hosted by the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) of the Hong Kong SAR.

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Dr Alf-Eckbert Fussel, Deputy Head of Unit, Animal Health and Welfare for the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Health and Food Safety, represented the Commission at the ICEDFZ.

“The European Commission’s decision formally recognises that the racehorse population at the Conghua Training Centre within the EDFZ will have exactly the same high-health status as horses stabled at Sha Tin.

Such a decision will continue to enable the temporary movement of horses between all of the member countries within the European Union and Hong Kong for international races held at Sha Tin and vice versa,” said Mr Andrew Harding, Executive Director, Racing Authority. “The EC decision re-affirms the platinum-standard of the biosecurity arrangements which have been made to support our CTC operations.”

The EC decision recognising the EDFZ’s high-health status comes after the same outcome was achieved with the United States. Prior to the EC’s action, the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the United States Department of Agriculture, following collaboration with the HKJC and AFCD, has similarly advised that no additional residency in Hong Kong would be required for exports to America as a consequence of the EDFZ in Conghua being utilised.