Mike De Kock hails the ‘announcement of the year’ as EU confirms the South African audit for Bloodstock Exports.
The country has been unable to do Bloodstock Exports directly to Europe since 2013.
The South African racing and breeding industries have received a major boost after the European Union (EU) confirmed that an audit of the country’s export protocols will take place in April or May in 2020.
The announcement follows a meeting on Tuesday between the EU, the South African Department of Agriculture’s director of animal health, Dr. Mpho Maja and Niki Kruger, chief director of trade negotiations, international trade and economic development division (ITED).
Adrian Todd, managing director of South African equine health and protocols (SAEHP), said: “The EU will be sending a pre-audit questionnaire early in the new year so that final preparation can be done.
“This is the most exciting development for all of us in the South African breeding and racing industries. It shows what can be done when the private and government sectors cooperate and work towards the same goal.”
South Africa has been unable to export horses directly to most parts of the world following an EU audit carried out in May 2013, which found that the country was unable to ensure the absence of African Horse Sickness (AHS) in the controlled zone for horses being exported.
Since then, the export of equines has required horses to spend a minimum of 21 days quarantine in South Africa and a further three months in Mauritius before reaching Europe, with a further residency of 30 to 60 days required before onward transportation to other countries.
In an eight-point memorandum published by SAEHP in October, the organisation said that South Africa’s racing and breeding industries faced the risk of implosion should there be any further delays to an audit by the EU.
In the memorandum, Todd said: “We are asking for no concessions, just an inspection of our disease control systems. We trust the European and UK industries to assist in lobbying our case to the EU. Without a breakthrough, our industry will cease to exist.”
Eight-times South African champion trainer and SAEHP board member Mike de Kock described the development as the “announcement of the year” for South African racing after the industry has been blighted violent staff strikes, racecourse closures and significant cuts to prize-money.
De Kock, who has not fielded a top-flight winner outside of South Africa since Variety Club triumphed in the Champions Mile at Sha Tin in May 2014 following the changes to export protocols, said: “With all the negative news we’ve had, this is the announcement of the year.
“I’m excited about South African racing, the audit still has to be completed and there will be a few technical issues after that, but we’re as close now as we’ve been which is wonderful.
“This is a vital issue. Some of our industry’s biggest investors, like the Sheikhs of Dubai, have been getting impatient but now, at last, we have something tangible, a light at the end of the tunnel.
“I have seen the ramifications of the prohibiting protocols on my own business with an internationally competitive Dubai string of 40 horses grinding to an almost complete halt.
“Adrian Todd and his team at SAEHP have worked very hard and in the face of many obstacles to get us this far. They deserve compliments, along with Dr. Maja who gave racing her preference and several others who have done sterling work behind the scenes.”
Disclaimer: This article originally appeared on the Racing Post website published on 18 December 2019. We do not claim any copyright or ownership of this article. We’re merely republishing it for interest’s sake.