On 28 October 2023, 36 horses of Global Equesterian Ltd ( GEL ) , thoroughbred horses entered into a quarantine facility situate at, Kenilworth, Western Cape. Those horses were due for export to Mauritius, and were booked on a flight to depart on Saturday 18 November 2023 and Sunday the 19 November 2023.
These horses were tested for Dourine and other diseases prior to their admission to quarantine, as a precautionary measure, and not as a requirement for the admission of such horses, all 36 horses tested negative.
On Thursday, 9 November 2023, the mandatory testing was undertaken for Dourine and other diseases, as required for the Health Certificate necessary for export to be issued, and 11 horses had a “suspect” result in respect of such test, and one horse tested positive for Dourine. Global equestrian LTD Director was informed that the testing was undertaken at a low temperature, which can give rise to fake positives and also “suspect” results;
Re-testing was carried out on Monday, 13 November 2023, at a higher temperature, but within the parameters for testing, and the results were released on Tuesday, 14 November 2023. All horses were then tested negative for Dourine.
As such, the requirements were met for export at such time, and a Health Certificate ought to have been issued.
The South African State Vet of their own accord, ordered further retesting as a result of the initial positive test results, subsequent to the testing carried out on Thursday, 9 November 2023. The results were 4 horses had a “suspect” result and funny enough the 1 horse which had a positive result now having a negative result and made its way to Mauritius. Comprenne qui pourra !. All 36 bloods were retested again on Thursday 16 November 2023 and the results handed down were 2 “suspects” on Friday the 17th November 2023.
The South African State vet confirmed that this is a testing problem with the LAB because all horses are geldings and Dourine is a sexually transmitted disease, the virus Dourine is not present in South Africa ( if such is the case, all stud colts and fillies/ mares would be put down and all breeding farms closed down for years ) . He was happy to send the horses on the result of the 36 negative blood tests. However , with its policy of open disclosure, he explained to the state vet of Mauritius what has happened. As any civil servant would most probably do , the state vet of Mauritius ruled out and declared that no horse with a suspect result can embark on the flight. Typical of any civil servant response specially in a field where there is a lack of expertise in Mauritius.
Global Equestrian Ltd took immediate measures to try and get the 18 horses that now has to be left behind in South Africa and left them on a farm. Huge financial prejudice which responsibi- lities shall be thrashed out in both South African and Mauritian jurisdictions. Only 18 horsee arrived yesterday. Global Eques- terian Ltd proposed but rejected outright that as they have 2 Quaratine stations in Mauritius all negative horses be sent to Palma Quarantine and the remaining suspect positive with the one positive be sent to the other quarantine in Forbach. In any case all 36 were together on the same farm and same quarantine in the last 12 months. The horses will then only exit Quarantine if negative for all tests carried out. If positive we will put the horse down or do anything lawful to take into account.
People from Mauritius must be very careful to import horses from South Africa. Even you test before you buy there is no guarantee that the next test by the same laboratory from the same sample would not reveal a positive result after a negative one the day before. To get your horses through the test is just like you are buying a lottery ticket or you are playing on a roulette table.
This is how the horse racing industry will also die in Mauritius like everywhere in the world if the Government of Mauritius does not act practically in the best interests of the industry. A special EQUINE Veterinary Division is urgently called for. A bon entendeur!.