Equine industry is facing increasing challenges: Al Zeyoudi

By Rajive Singh

DUBAI 5 March 2018: The 22nd International Conference of Racing Analysts and Veterinarians (ICRAV 2018) was  opened at the Meydan Hotel in Dubai yesterday by UAE Minister of Climate Change and Environment Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi.

The biennial event is the racing industry’s principal forum to address scientific, veterinary, welfare and regulatory issues. Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation, delivered the ICRAV lecture at the event. The Conference runs from 3 – 10 March 2018.

In his opening speech, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said that the equine industry is facing increasing challenges, owing to heavy cross-border horse movement resulting from multiple regional and international racing events and competitions, said Wam.

“The UAE has implemented strict controls and requirements related to the safe movement of horses to make sure that the legality of cross-border transport is compatible with international standards. The UAE has also devised a bundle of legislations and laws on quarantine, animal welfare, and the prevention of animal diseases to regulate and monitor such competitions and to maintain the integrity of horse racing, as well as to ensure the welfare of the animals involved,” he added.

In her speech at the ICRAV opening session, Reem Al Hashimy said: “Horses have existed in the Arab world as long as recorded life. The earliest records of domesticated horses originate in Arabia and Asia, and every modern thoroughbred traces its origin to Arabia. The horse racing industry is tightly regulated for the protection and welfare of the majestic steeds. Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum continues to dedicate his personal equestrian operations to that end, and has also directed the government to adopt stringent legislation and animal protection standards.”

Al Hashimy spoke about the role of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in advancing regulations aimed at protecting the industry: “In 2013, Sheikh Mohammed issued an anti-doping decree, banning the use of forbidden substances in all equestrian sports, including racing, in Dubai. In 2014, our parliament began debating legislation to ensure doping-free horseracing and to promote health, fairness and equality for horses and jockeys in the UAE. Passed two months later, the law bans the trade, import and use of all drugs, unless they are licensed for use by the relevant Ministry or the authorities concerned to treat specific medical conditions such as anti-inflammatories and muscle relaxants,” she said.

The organisation of ICRAV is overseen by two non-profit organisations – the Association of Official Racing Chemists and the International Group of Specialist Racing Veterinarians. Over 234 delegates including scientists, veterinarians and administrators from about 32 countries are attending the 22nd edition of the conference.

Participants in the conference are typically analytical chemists and laboratory managers representing the Association of Official Racing Chemists; regulatory veterinarians from the world’s racing bodies representing the International Group of Specialist Racing Veterinarians; and other delegates nominated by international, national or state authorities controlling an equine sport or animal racing. Scientists and veterinarians from outside the racing industry, with an interest in control of drugs in sport or veterinary and welfare matters associated with horses are also among the participants. ICRAV provides a platform for all players in the industry to share knowledge and ideas related to veterinary matters, rules, technical refinements and scientific advances.

Historically, ICRAV conferences have played a vital role in advancing knowledge and promoting stronger industry relationships. With 119 high quality research papers, this year’s event is expected to foster a lively discussion on key industry issues.

Previous ICRAV conferences have been held in Montevideo (2016), Mauritius (2014), Philadelphia (2012), New Zealand (2010), Turkey (2008), Japan (2006), Dubai (2004), Florida (2002), England (2000), British Columbia (1998), Australia (1996), Sweden (1994), Louisiana (1992), Southern Africa (1990), Louisville, USA (1988), Hong Kong (1985), Toronto, Canada (1983), Melbourne (1981), Lexington, USA (1979), Dublin, Ireland (1977) and Newmarket, UK (1976).