Organisers of equestrian events will get to decide the conditions of entry, as it has been decided that use of Hendra virus will not be made mandatory. This was made clear by agriculture minister Bill Byrne in a report tabled in Parliament.
While tabling the final response, the agriculture minister said that they supported most of the recommendations in the Agriculture and Environment committee’s report. The official report had outlined guidelines on the use of Hendra virus vaccine.
Mr. Byrne said that it was everyone’s responsibility to create a safe workplace and administer the correct duty of care. He said that veterinarians also had to play a role in adhering to healthcare guidelines. In view of the recommendations, Mr. Byrne said the government will not amend workplace health and safety regulations.
Mr. Byrne said that the government will not go ahead with the regulations on veterinarians treating suspected cases of Hendra virus. It is pertinent to mention that The Office of Industrial Relations had rejected the recommendations on grounds that they did not have sufficient regard for statutory duty of care.
Mr. Byrne said that the Workplace Health and Safety Queensland will work closely with industry to review guidance materials. This will help horse care professionals fulfil their duties more efficiently. He further added that the government wanted everyone to dealing with the Hendra virus to remain protected and to do that, it was necessary to follow the best biosecurity practices. Mr Byrne also assured that the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries will continue to promote biosecurity practices.
Biosecurity Queensland will be revising guidelines for treatment of horses, paying more attention to risk management. Mr Byrne added that while he supported new technologies, it was time before it could be safely used on a large scale. He also made it clear that stakeholders will not be a part of the technical expert working group.
Globally, there has been increasing focus and attention on animal healthcare. The trend is not only limited to developed countries, as a recent report from Future Market Insights has revealed that the Middle East veterinary vaccines market will grow at nearly 5% CAGR till 2026.
About the Hendra Virus
Hendra virus, first isolated in 1994, was first isolated during the outbreak of a disease in horses in Hendra, Brisbane. However, it was later identified that the natural reservoir for the virus was flying fox. Hendra virus mainly inflicts horses, and its outbreak in humans has remained rare, with only seven cases being identified between 1994 and 2013. People who are in frequent contact with horses in Queensland and surrounding regions are at a higher risk of contracting the virus.