Minister for Primary Industries Ian Macdonald today (Sunday, Aug. 26) said in a press release the equine influenza situation in New South Wales was “grim.”

“More of the full picture is being revealed today, and I regret to inform you that it is grim,” said Macdonald. “Surveillance experts based at State Disease Control Headquarters have traced suspect horses to Parkes, Moonbi (near Tamworth), Broughton Vale (near Berry), Wilberforce, Cattai, and Wyong. Samples taken by veterinarians from these horses have tested positive for Influenza A.

“This is disastrous news for the state’s horse industries, not just racing,” he continued. “Equine Influenza doesn’t discriminate between gallopers and Shetland ponies, in fact it affects donkeys, too.

“This morning the DPI called on people that had taken horses to Carol’s Ranch Riding Club event at Maitland on the weekend of 18 and 19 August to call in their horse for examination for equine influenza,” Macdonald said. “We need to locate these animals as soon as possible and have a vet see them to determine their health and possible testing. These owners must contact the Department’s veterinary investigations team on 02 4640 6440.

“All horse owners have a responsibility to closely monitor the health of their animals,” he stated.

Minister Macdonald said the state’s whole equine scene must support the current standstill to eliminate the spread of the disease.

“As we have seen in the last 36 hours, the movement of even one infected horse has the potential to spread the disease,” Macdonald said. “The closure of all racing in NSW yesterday illustrates the seriousness of the situation. All horse owners must NOT move their horses, ponies or donkeys.”

He said restrictions were in place for horse transports because of their ability to s