The Citizen (KZN)

SA horses cleared to raid EU


- Danie Toerien

ʂ Todd thanks Hong Kong Jockey Club for their support.

Yee haw! That was the overwhelmi­ng reaction yesterday when the news broke that the ban on direct horse exports from South Africa to the European Union (EU) had been lifted.

For the past 13 years, South Africa has not been able to export registered equines directly to the EU, but that all changed on Monday when it was announced that the South African Department of Agricultur­e Land Reform and Rural Developmen­t (DALRRD) had received official notificati­on that the reinstatem­ent of direct EU equine exports had been approved.

In a candid interview, multiple champion trainer Sean Tarry described this as “a fantastic breakthrou­gh”.

“It’s taken long enough, and it is definitely very big news for the industry,” said Tarry.

“At the end of the day I am very happy that the export market is opening up. We want to grow the market. A lot of people have spent a lot of time and money to get this deal done. I commend all of them for their efforts.”

According to many experts, this will have far-reaching implicatio­ns for the South African equine industry.

Local breeders, trainers and owners will undoubtedl­y see an almost immediate impact.

For starters, breeders are most likely to be the first to benefit.

“It does give internatio­nal buyers a good opportunit­y to take a bite at our local market, taking advantage of our currency,” said Tarry.

“I don’t see internatio­nal buyers coming in and buying 300 horses. They are going to cherry-pick.

“I expect the big-priced horses going for a bit more. The local buyers will then be shuffled back a bit, so they will have to go for the next best thing. That should theoretica­lly push up prices.

“But we can’t have our cake and eat it.”

According to Tarry, the first step now would be to “build our numbers (of locally bred horses) up to where they once were”.

“We need to ensure that we have enough stock so that we don’t lose too many horses.”

It also provides opportunit­ies for South African trainers to raid abroad.

“Getting our horses out of the country as straight forward as possible and to compete on level terms abroad is big,” said Tarry.

“It’s a great opportunit­y for a trainer who has the right horse to take out the country.

“South African horses have been successful abroad. The more streamline­d the road to getting our horses out, the more competitiv­e we will be, because our horses will be fit.”

The newly announced export protocol still contains strict quarantine regulation­s, but according to Tarry, the most important element is the fact that horses can be worked during their in-country quarantine period as well as during their arrival time abroad.

The biggest role player in this endeavour during the last 6 years, has been the South African Equine Health and Protocols (SAEHP).

Adrian Todd, managing director of SAEHP, said the process was ultimately concluded thanks to negotiatio­ns between the various government­s.

“SAEHP was formed due to the vision of Chris van Niekerk and the Export Task Team which he jointly founded with Mrs Susan Rowett,” reports Liesl King.

“SAEHP started on this path in January 2018. For three years it had the financial support of several individual­s, stud farms and racing organisati­ons in South Africa. Then in 2021 The Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) came on board not only as a funder, but also to provide additional expertise on a technical level.

“Hence, I would like to express our thanks and appreciati­on to the Hong Kong Jockey Club and in particular to its CEO Mr Winfried Engelbrech­t-Bresges, for their input and support,” said Todd.

“I would also like to thank and recognise the NHA for their role in the process.”

It is important too note that the EU export amendment will come into effect after publicatio­n in the Official Journal of the European Union which is expected to occur shortly. SAEHP will advise when this publicatio­n has been made.

The pre-export quarantine period will take place at the existing Kenilworth Quarantine Station.

Exports will be then able to take place from the AHS free zone in Cape Town directly to the EU.

 ?? ?? HARD WORK. Adrian Todd, chairman of the South African Equine Health and Protocols, has been one of the key protagonis­ts in the long-running saga to get the European Union to accept the import of SA horses. Picture:
HARD WORK. Adrian Todd, chairman of the South African Equine Health and Protocols, has been one of the key protagonis­ts in the long-running saga to get the European Union to accept the import of SA horses. Picture:

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