Following outbreak in Terengganu, Philippines bans import of horses from Malaysia

Philippine has issued a temporary ban on the importation of domestic wild horses and its products from Malaysia. — Reuters pic
Philippine has issued a temporary ban on the importation of domestic wild horses and its products from Malaysia. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 20 — Neighbouring Philippine has issued a temporary ban on the importation of domestic wild horses and its products from Malaysia following an outbreak of a fatal disease here.

According to The Philippine Star, the republic’s Department of Agriculture (DA) instituted the temporary ban following a memorandum order issued by the Office of the Secretary to prevent the entry of the African Horse Sickness (AHS) virus and protect the health of the local equine population.

“Based on the official report submitted to the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE), there was an outbreak of AHS in backyard-reared horses in the state of Terengganu. The disease outbreak is continuing in Malaysia,” the report was quoted as saying.

The ban comes after five horses in Terengganu tested positive for AHS, the first such case reported in the country.

AHS is a serious and often fatal disease of horses, mules and donkeys. It is spread by infected insects and causes fever and heart and respiratory problems in affected animals.

The sickness is believed to have spread from Thailand to Malaysia.

The disease confirmation was published in a report dated September 2 from the OIE after Malaysia’s Veterinary Research Institute took samples from the affected horses for analysis.

It added that Agriculture Secretary William Dar had issued an immediate suspension of the processing, evaluation of the application and issuance of sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) import clearance to the said commodities which includes horse semen and embryos.

Dar was also quoted as saying that there would be a stoppage and confiscation of all shipments of the commodities into the country by all DA veterinary quarantine officers at all major ports of entry.

However this is not the first time a foreign country has issued a ban on the importation of horses from Malaysia, with China previously confirming a similar ban on September 13 following the disease outbreak here. 

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