Bio-Security and the Equestrian Crisis

The importance of bio-security was brought to light recently by events within the equine industry. Three horses were initially diagnosed with the highly contagious equine flu virus, and the entire racing calendar was brought to a standstill. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has been forced into reactive containment practice to minimise the spread of the disease, including the installation of footbaths and severely restricted movements of racehorses across the country.

Though the virus in this instance is not harmful to humans, issues like this are a stark reminder of how powerful bio-security incidents can be. We only have to look back to the foot and mouth outbreak of 2001 to see the devastating consequences that can be caused by disease. This is why Code 9 Security implement proactive bio-security measures on vulnerable assignments, and on all of our livestock, agricultural and food production assignments.

Racing managers, trainers and breeders across the country now need to implement effective control measures to prevent the further spread of the virus; in addition to installing footbath facilities, investing in additional cleaning and appropriate measures to mitigate against cross-contamination from both employees and visitors. This is where Code 9 Security’s bio-security expertise can add real value.

Now racing has been allowed to continue, we will still see the effects of this outbreak in the next few race meets, which will no doubt have a very different feel as horses that would usually take part are still subject to restrictions.

From these relatively isolated incidents and the measures needed to control the spread of disease, it is easy to see how problematic a bio-security incident within the recreational equestrian industry, farming, agricultural sectors, or food production industries could be. Furthermore, this outbreak reminds us how the spread of a disease that affects both animals and humans can have such significant consequences. The impact, of course, would not only be felt in the potential loss of life, but financially too.

The nature of biological infections, their widespread impact and disregard for physical barriers means that, to some extent, we all have a part to play in bio-security and from recent events, it is something we must all be aware of. This is also why Code 9 Security have dedicated officers and specialist security practitioners to make sure that we are well placed to support our clients with their bio-security requirements.

If you would like to know more about our bio-security arrangements, contact us on 08442 448 448.   

Advice, GeneralHannah Aldous