The outbreak was "probably the worst in Europe in many decades," said FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibanez
Alan Crowhurst / dpa
Because of the rapid spread of a herpes virus in horses, the FEI World Federation has canceled all international tournaments in Germany and nine other countries.
This regulation is initially valid until March 28th.
According to the FEI, several horses have already died due to the virus.
According to the association, the equine herpes virus (EHV-1) has broken out in Valencia, Spain, where a series of tournaments has been held since the beginning of February.
It has already been proven in three other European countries.
"Worst outbreak in many decades"
The outbreak was "probably the worst in Europe in many decades," said FEI Secretary General Sabrina Ibáñez: "This EHV-1 strain is particularly aggressive and has already caused deaths in horses and a very large number of severe clinical cases." According to media reports, at least four horses have died of the virus in Valencia.
So far, three horses from German tournament stables have died.
Hilmar Meyer and Mike Patrick Leichle confirmed this to the dpa news agency on Tuesday.
"We're fighting shoulder to shoulder for our horses here," said Meyer, who runs a trading and training stable in Thedinghausen in Lower Saxony and has so far lost two horses.
A horse owned by the rider and tournament stable operator Leichle has so far died in Valencia.
The virus does not spread to humans.
Sick horses left Valencia
The possible further spread over the whole continent is a cause for concern.
"We also know that a large number of horses left the Valencia venue without an official health certificate, which means that they had an unknown health status," continued Ibáñez: "Some horses were already sick and at risk of transmission these horses is a big problem. "
In order to prevent hundreds of horses from leaving other running tournaments in southern Europe at once, the events in Vilamoura (Portugal), Vejer de la Frontera (Spain) as well as San Giovanni and Gorla Minore (Italy) are allowed to continue in so-called "bubbles". as long as there are no EHV-1 cases.
However, new horses are not allowed to arrive and no animal is allowed to leave the tournament site without permission.
Ibáñez emphasized that it was not an easy decision to block events on mainland Europe, especially after the major disruption of the tournament calendar due to the corona pandemic.
Nevertheless, the associations concerned are strongly recommended to also cancel their national tournaments.
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ngo / dpa / sid