Sunday, April 02, 2017

Australia: The subject of a vaccine for the Hendra virus is driving a split in Queensland’s riding fraternity - Full Article

Peter Hall, EXCLUSIVE, The Courier-Mail
April 1, 2017

PRO and anti-vaxxers are locked in a battle, but this time involving horses and it is ripping a Queensland ­riding fraternity in two.

Equestrian enthusiasts and the Australian Veterinary Association are in a bitter standoff over the Hendra vaccine, the subject of a state parliamentary inquiry in 2016.

This followed the deaths of 97 horses and four people since 1994 and official findings advised vaccinating horses against the virus should be encouraged, but not compulsory.

The AVA – which lost veterinarians Dr Ben Cunneen and Dr Alister Rodgers to Hendra in 2008 and 2009 – has taken a firm stance and warned vets to weigh the legal risk and carefully consider involvement in endurance events unless they were vaccination only.

The ensuing lack of vets has left ride organisers no option but to ban non-vaccinated entrants, sparking a backlash and, in an unprecedented move, seen the scheduling of an alternative “pro-choice’’ ride using sympathetic vets, some flown from interstate...

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