Is rhino outbreak the result of a weakened vaccination policy?

Is rhino outbreak the result of a weakened vaccination policy?

Much ink has been spilled over the rhino outbreak in recent days.  Dr Frank Gasthuys, affiliated with the University of Ghent, wonders whether a weakened vaccination policy might have caused the rhino outbreak in Spain. 


A horse participating in an international competition does not have to be vaccinated against rhino. Only the vaccination against influenza is mandatory according to FEI rules. The FEI website states the following about vaccination against rhino: "Horses may also require other vaccines to protect against infectious equine diseases that may be present in their environment, such as equine herpes virus and West Nile virus. Some horses may also receive the GnRH vaccine. These vaccines must also be noted in the horse's passport". So a vaccination can be given, but it is not mandatory to be allowed to participate in international events.

"The vaccination against Rhino is indeed not obligatory", confirms Prof. Dr. Gasthuys, "That's why several horses are hardly or not at all vaccinated and of course that's asking for trouble. The Belgian federation strongly recommends vaccination but does not make it compulsory. Horse owners therefore choose for themselves whether or not to have their horses vaccinated, with all the consequences that entails".

Source: HLN / FEI