11 Jul 2019

Royal Welsh Show – all horses must be vaccinated for flu

Many of you will have seen the news about the Royal Welsh Show announcing it will not be admitting horses who have not been vaccinated against Equine Flu. This is excellent news and the BEF is urging other shows to follow their lead. You may also have seen that the number of confirmed outbreaks of Equine Flu has surged in the last few weeks – indeed there have already been 28 outbreaks in July alone.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that the increase in cases is because of the increase in movement of horses to shows and events in the summer months.

It’s vital that horse owners are reminded about the importance of vaccinations and are warned against mixing unvaccinated horses with other equines. 

The British Equestrian Federation statement:

The British Equestrian Federation (BEF) welcomes the stance taken by the Royal Welsh Agricultural Society (RWAS) that horses who have not been vaccinated will not be allowed to enter the Royal Welsh Show due to concerns over Equine Flu.

Throughout this current outbreak, the BEF has urged competition and event organisers to ensure that attending horses comply with vaccination rules.

The BEF has been closely monitoring the outbreak and notes the latest figures from the Animal Health Trust which show 28 outbreaks in July so far – the vast majority in unvaccinated equines.

The BEF commends the RWAS which said they made their decision to “put the welfare of horses first” and urges all shows and events to follow their lead.

Equine Flu is a highly contagious disease and there are 2 key steps that all owners can take to help prevent it spreading:

  1. 1) Ensure that their horses are vaccinated. The BEF continues to recommend that if it has been longer than six months since the last vaccination, owners should discuss a booster with their veterinary surgeon. Vaccinated equines are not only much better protected against Equine Flu, they recover far quicker and are much less likely to spread the disease.
  2. 2) Do not allow unvaccinated equines to mix with other horses. The increased movement of horses in the late spring and summer months has undoubtedly been a major contributing factor in the surge of cases.

Our recommendations are based on advice from experts in equine flu and epidemiology with experience in managing previous outbreaks. You can find more information on how to prevent the spread of equine flu and how to protect your horse here.