asked Her Majesty’s Government:
Whether the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has had discussions with the British Veterinary Association or the horse industry concerning African horse sickness; and, if so, what has been the outcome. [HL2970]
My department is in regular contact with the British Veterinary Association, its equine representative body (the British Equine Veterinary Association) and the horse industry on a range of issues.
We have discussed contingency planning for a range of insect-borne equine diseases, as a consequence of possible environmental changes. Although African horse sickness (AHS) is one such disease, discussions to date have not highlighted it above the general threat of such diseases. The discovery of bluetongue (not a disease of equines) in mainland Europe has raised concerns about a possible AHS incursion, as the vectors for bluetongue and AHS are known to be similar.
Defra is keeping the situation under close review and is pleased that industry bodies are raising awareness of such a disease. Defra expects to continue to work in partnership with BEVA and the industry in this area.