Overseas horses to be isolated

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 09 July, 2008, 12:00am

Overseas horses set to take part in the coming Olympic and Paralympic equestrian events will be kept separate from local horses to stop them catching viruses in Hong Kong, the government says.

Local horses for Jockey Club races will be kept at least 100 metres from the Olympic horses, Thomas Sit Hon-chung, assistant director of the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, told a meeting of the Legislative Council panel on food safety and environmental hygiene yesterday.

Panel chairman Tommy Cheung Yu-yan said he was worried that horses for the Paralympic equestrian events would have to share vehicles with local horses when Hong Kong's races were about to begin in mid-September.

Dr Sit assured the legislators that there would be enough vehicles to transport Olympic horses and local horses separately.

A total of 306 horses would be flown to Hong Kong to participate in the competitions, the department said.

Before the equestrian-event horses arrive, they would undergo a seven-day pre-export quarantine in an overseas stable approved by the department, Dr Sit said. On arrival, they would be isolated for 10 days in stables in Sha Tin to monitor their health.