Health products like horse-to-horse medicine, horse blood and a vaccine are now covered by the Horse Health Products Association’s (HAPA) new Horse Health Product Scheme, which was launched by Health Minister Nick Xenophon.
The scheme was launched on Thursday and will cover over 200 products that are made for use by horses, and includes over $100 million worth of veterinary veterinary and pharmaceutical products.
Its main focus is on health, but also animal welfare, and the scheme’s new product, a blood product called Boku, is designed to protect horses against the common cold, as well as preventing infection.
Dr Scott Worsham, a GP with the Western Australian Royal Commission for the Health of Horses (RCAH), told ABC Radio Perth that the new product was being used by more than 2,000 horses a year and that it was “a big improvement”.
“We are working very hard to develop new products, so it’s a really important area for us,” he said.
“We’re very keen to work with the horse industry to ensure we’re not only protecting their health but also ensuring that we are meeting the need for the products.”
The scheme’s chief executive, Dr Scott Wensley, said it was hoped the new products would be available for use in all states and territories.
“The horse-specific products we are providing are aimed at improving the health of the horses, reducing their stress, reducing the amount of time they spend on their harness and ensuring they have the necessary support and resources to survive in the wild,” Dr Wensmith said.
He said it would be “in the best interests” for the industry to make it available to all Australian states and territory, and urged people to contact their state and territory health department for further information.
Horse products are currently covered under the Animal Health Products Scheme, but Dr Winsley said the scheme had more “commercial applications” that would not necessarily be covered by that scheme.
“I would say that if you look at the Animal Welfare Act, it says that the animal welfare of animals must be considered, and that includes horse welfare,” he told ABC News.
Animal Welfare Act states: “A person is guilty of cruelty if he or she intentionally causes pain or suffering to an animal.”
The regulations say: “Every person shall cause pain or suffer to any animal for the purpose of obtaining any benefit of that person from that animal, whether that benefit is from a compensation claim, a licence fee, or any other payment or consideration”.
“It is a class B offence to intentionally cause pain to any species of animal.”
Dr Winsmith said that for the time being, the new horse products covered under HAPA would only be used for medical and veterinary purposes, but he said the new scheme would cover all veterinary and medical products that were not covered under a previous scheme.
“For the purposes of this scheme, all veterinary products are covered,” he explained.
HAPA is looking to expand its scope and increase its products covered by 2020, which includes new products for horse health and a new product for the treatment of horses with traumatic injuries.
“If you look through the history of the industry, there has been a number of horses that have died of heart failure, that have been on horseback, and they’ve been on these products that we now have in Australia,” Dr Vicky O’Connor, head of marketing and communications at the Australian Health Product Council, said.
Topics:health,animal-welfare,horses,agriculture-and-horticulture,food-and/or-cooking,animal,perth-6000,wa,southport-4215,australiaContact Scott WansleyMore stories from Western Australia