Horse flu returns to scare local shows

LITTLE more than a year after horse flu stopped the horse world in its tracks, the crippling virus has reared its head again.

As Lismore celebrated its Centenary Lismore Cup yesterday, news broke that a horse in Sydney had tested positive for the illness.

The result came from a horse in quarantine at Eastern Creek Animal Quarantine Station. A second test came back clear, but authorities said they would retest the horse along with another 73 under quarantine.

With the Northern Rivers' show season under way, some show organisers were worried but cautiously optimistic yesterday that this time things would be different. Kyogle Show is on this weekend and secretary Wendy Piggott said she doubted any outcome would stop it so close to the event.

“It makes my tummy churn. I don't want to think about it. But they wouldn't get to us in time to be able to stop anything,” she said.

“I hope it doesn't happen again because it crippled everyone before.”

When horse flu broke out through the Eastern Creek quarantine station in August last year it shut down horse-related industries for three months. Local race days were postponed or cancelled and many equine businesses and groups experienced tough times.

Julie Denison, of the Alstonville Agricultural Society, said she did not expect a repeat of last year because the extra paperwork introduced after the outbreak made it easier to trace the movement of horses.



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