EQUINE NEWS

Evolution of spread the word not the germs: biosecurity in the Ontario horse racing industry and beyondMay 2017



Story by: Agricultural Adaptation Council

Horses, snotty noses touchingIn 2013, a devastating outbreak of Equine Herpes Virus One caused four confirmed cases in Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses and three confirmed deaths.


The development reinforced Equine Guelph’s sense that the Ontario horse racing industry – one filled with high-value animals and frequent movement – was in need of further education on biosecurity and infectious disease prevention.


Accessing funding through the Agricultural Adaptation Council, Equine Guelph developed and delivered ‘BIOSECURITY – Spread the word not the germs.’ The first-of-its-kind campaign targeted infectious diseases in the Ontario horse racing industry. The initiative changed the equine industry’s approach to biosecurity and delivered lasting resources still used today.


In order to reach such a broad community, Equine Guelph used a peer-to-peer educational approach to bring the industry together.


In April 2015, Equine Guelph started by educating horse racing officials. Ontario Racing Commission investigators, judges and stewards received training on biosecurity, arming the officials with the resources needed to visit all 10 Ontario race tracks in the spring and summer of 2015 to spread the word on biosecurity. On their visits, officials discussed how to improve biosecurity and provided an assortment of training materials.


Spread the Word - Not the GermsThe biosecurity campaign is more than just a communications success story; it created tangible resources for the equine industry, both racing and non-racing. The training content used has been added to Equine Guelph’s equine biosecurity two-week online eWorkshop and has been modified and distributed to a general equine audience across Canada.


Bug 4The project was funded in part through Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a federal-provincial-territorial initiative. The Agricultural Adaptation Council assists in the delivery of GF2 in Ontario.


Now available on TheHorsePortal.ca - all horse owners and care givers can learn Canada’s biosecurity code for Equines.


Bug 1You can also access Equine Guelph’s free Biosecurity Calculator to evaluate the biosecurity risk on your farm. In 10 minutes you can be on your way to a biosecurity plan utilizing simple ways to protect your horse from infectious disease.