November 11, Hyderabad, India~Designated World Veterinary Year, 2011, the World Equine Veterinary Association (WEVA) celebrated the 250th anniversary of the first veterinary school in Lyons, France, the birth of the modern veterinary profession. WEVA`s biennial congress, number 12, attracted Delegates from all over the globe to network and to hear recognized speakers such as Dr. Dennis Brooks, Dr. Jean Marie Denoix, Dr. Sue Dyson, Dr. David Frisbie, Dr. Robert Hunt, Dr. Derek Knottenbelt, Dr. Michelle LeBlanc, Dr.Steve O’Grady, Dr. Ed Robinson, Dr. Steve Reed, Dr. Juan Samper and Dr. John Walmsley. In addition, there were programs specifically devoted to equine welfare. Recent Congress sessions were held in Marrakech, Moscow and Sao Paulo, Brazil.
“FEI regulated competitions are the pinnacle of international equestrian sport”, WEVA President Tim Greet said. “We are delighted that the FEI has chosen the 2011 WEVA Conference to celebrate the very long partnership between equestrian sport and veterinary surgeons. The entire WEVA Conference promises to be a very exciting event, and offers our delegates a great opportunity to visit India as well.”
FEI President, HRH Princess Haya Al Hussein gave the opening speech, in part below.
“As we compete, we trust you as a key part of our support “team”. Most importantly, we trust you to make decisions that will always protect the integrity and image of the sport. The absolute importance of the support “teams” that riders depend on is now fully recognised under FEI rules. Persons held responsible for actions that are against the values of our sport, can now include anyone in that team and no longer just the rider.
As a member of what is called the equine industry, I am aware that this extraordinarily valuable and expanding equine industry is producing millions of jobs and revenue. Vets have an enormous task to protect it. We need vets to work hard at ensuring that disease outbreaks do not disrupt and destroy businesses and that necessary vaccines and medicines are developed. We need vets to work with and within governments to make sure that the welfare of the horse is NOT subservient to commercial pressures, but is protected in a practical manner.
Very importantly we need vets to ensure that when horses are rightly protected by laws and regulations, such as those needed to allow the safe international movement of horses, that it is done with courage, takinga real risk-based approach and without over- precautionary levels of red tape and restrictions.
Please understand me – restrictions are necessary – animal production industries and food chains must have them to stay secure. But we need veterinary policy makers who can see that sport horses at the peak of their fitness are in a unique risk category and it is not logic to apply a one size fits all approach. Such an approach is unfortunately seen too often and it is recognised as one of the greatest barriers to the development of the sport. One of my main mandates from the National Federations of the FEI is to bring about a more rational approach to the International Movement of Horses – as a priority.”