As the excitement builds for Tuesday’s highly anticipated Melbourne Cup race, biosecurity officials have been working diligently behind the scenes to ensure that all 21 international contenders are free of exotic pests and diseases, and are ready for the race that stops the nation.
Head of Animal Biosecurity, Tim Chapman, said that the Melbourne Cup as we know it would not be possible but for Australia’s stringent biosecurity controls that keep unwanted animal diseases at bay.
“An outbreak of equine influenza, like the one in 2007, could devastate the Australian horse and racing industries, be very costly to contain and eradicate and threaten the viability of future carnivals,” Mr Chapman said.
“International racehorses need to comply with strict biosecurity conditions, which includes at least 14 days in pre-export quarantine overseas, followed by at least 14 days of post-arrival quarantine in Australia, where they are tested for a range of biosecurity threats.
“It’s an impressive field this year with the likes of Yucatan (IRE), Magic Circle (IRE) and Cross Counter (GB) all having cleared their biosecurity requirements.
“Horses are quarantined at Werribee International Horse Centre in Victoria, which is equipped with training facilities to enable horses to maintain their condition in the lead-up to races.
“Due to the highly infectious nature of many horse diseases, anyone who comes in contact with the quarantined horses must be decontaminated. The horses must also be separated by a minimum of 100 metres from all Australian horses.
“Australia is fortunate to be free of many of the horse diseases found in other parts of the world, so it’s important we take strict measures to keep these threats at bay.
“The Melbourne Cup features prominently on the world racing calendar, allowing Australians to see the world’s best horses compete—an opportunity that would not be possible without careful biosecurity management.”
For more information on biosecurity in Australia.