Today, the FEI hosted a stakeholder consultation session to review comprehensive draft Return To Competition protocols, following the EHV-1 outbreak that originated in Valencia, Spain.
An overview reads:
"These measures are aimed at, in the short term, minimising the risks associated with the restart of FEI competitions in mainland Europe on 12 April 2021 and, in the long term, increasing biosecurity knowledge, skills and awareness among all FEI stakeholders in order to prevent a recurrence of the devastating EHV-1 outbreak.
The proposed Return To Competition protocols, a number of which are already covered in the FEI Veterinary Regulations or FEI General Regulations, were presented by FEI Veterinary Director Göran Åkerström and generated valuable input from stakeholders. FEI Legal Director Mikael Rentsch discussed the legal provisions for enhanced FEI jurisdiction in the event of a disease outbreak at an FEI Event.
Areas covered in the draft requirements include biosecurity plans and mitigation plans for outbreaks of infectious disease for all FEI Events; mandatory advance PCR testing (for certain designated events only) and temperature monitoring; enhanced Examination on Arrival external to the event stabling area for all horses; athlete self-certification for the health status of their horses; stabling (including isolation stables and restrictions on access); minimising nose-to-nose contact between horses; control of dogs; and the importance of basic hygiene.
In a brief opening address, FEI President Ingmar De Vos reiterated that there will be a full and thorough investigation into the circumstances of the outbreak and that the findings will be published. “Our goal is to learn from this and not to point fingers”, he said. He also thanked participants and the wider community for the incredible team and individual efforts to contain the outbreak.
He stressed the need for continuing to work together. “The measures we put in place – both short-term and long-term - and especially how effective they are, will depend on our ability as a community to collaborate, to agree to the same set of principles and to fully endorse and implement them in each of our respective areas of responsibility.