ABC.net.au - Full Article
October 21 2016
By Chris O'Brien and Alexandra Blucher
Vaccinating horses against Hendra virus should not be made compulsory, despite the deaths of 77 horses and four people since 1994, a Queensland parliamentary committee has found.
The agriculture committee was asked to look into the Hendra vaccine and its use by vets.
It recommended that vaccination not be mandatory, but that vets should also be free not to treat horses that had not been vaccinated.
However, the committee also warned there would be more deaths if horses were not vaccinated.
The report also detailed the complex debate about the use of the vaccine and the decision about whether to make it mandatory for horse owners.
It recommended new workplace safety laws to limit the liability of vets and clear requirements for protective clothing.
Committee chair and Gladstone MP, Glenn Butcher, said the inquiry's 11 recommendations were about saving lives.
"Hendra virus remains a risk for horses wherever there are flying foxes — horses that get infected generally die," he said.
"If people get the virus from infected horses they will likely die too and there is no cure.
"Vaccinating against the Hendra virus remains the most effective option for preventing horse and human deaths from the virus, according to biosecurity, workplace safety and health experts.
"If people stop vaccinating their horses, we will see deaths from Hendra virus in Queensland again..."
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