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Restrictions Issued for Importation of Horses to the Virgin Islands


Restrictions Issued for Importation of Horses to the Virgin Islands

By Source Staff — May 28, 2013

Import restrictions have been temporarily issued for horses coming into the territory, according to a press release issued Monday by the V.I. Department of Agriculture.

“Due to a confirmed case of contagious equine metritis (CEM) diagnosed in a horse in Puerto Rico, horses from Puerto Rico or traveling through Puerto Rico will not be allowed entry into the U.S. Virgin Islands until further notice. In addition, horses coming from Florida must now be tested for this disease. The USDA and Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture met with Dr. Bethany Bradford, director of veterinary services, last week regarding this rare disease situation, and we have jointly decided to make these necessary adjustments in the VI in order to protect the horse population in the territory,” said Commissioner Louis E. Petersen Jr., Ph.D.

CEM is a disease of horses only and does not affect humans or other animals. It is, however, a concern because it is very contagious and can cause infertility in horses.

Dr. Bradford reported that the USDA and Puerto Rico Department of Agriculture are currently investigating all the horses that have come in contact with the infected horse in Puerto Rico and in Florida, the origin of the infected horse. According to Dr. Bradford, preliminary reports indicate that U.S.V.I. horses recently imported from Puerto Rico have not been exposed to this infected horse. “However, because most of our race horses come from Puerto Rico or Florida, the U.S.V.I. must make changes to the import regulations to protect our local horses population until the investigation is completed. Furthermore, this is why we have animal import rules in place and why we are committed to enforcing them,” noted Dr. Bradford.

Commissioner Petersen commended the work of the Division of Veterinary Services in regulating imported animals and enforcing the health and identification requirements of all animals entering the territory. “It is reassuring to know that we have the trained personnel in place to respond quickly and effectively to incidents of potential risk to our horse population,” said the Commissioner.

Topic starter Posted : May 28, 2013 11:12 am

That's going to put a severe crimp on horse racing activities in the USVI.

Posted : May 28, 2013 12:20 pm
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