Economic Impact Of Aussie Horse Flu : Equid Blog

Australian Horse Industry Council –  Pleasure and performance horses

According to research done in 2008 by AHIC (Australian Horse Industry Council) Respondents estimate that they have experienced losses at $3.6 Billion between August and December 2007. This is concentrated in the Performance and pleasure side of the industry. The full report is available here

Grande_isle

A special edition of the Australian Veterinary Journal (July 2011) includes a series of papers covering different aspects of this outbreak. In one paper (Smyth et al) the authors look at the economic consequences and tried to determine the financial costs of the outbreak. Such estimates are always tough to make and can never be 100% accurate, but they can give a general idea of the scope and impact of an outbreak. Not surprisingly, the costs were pretty astounding.

Australian Government

A series of measures were implemented to assist individuals and organization that were impacted. The total cost of those packages was over $263 million AusD.

State/Territory Governments

New South Wales and Queensland were most seriously affected, but all states and territories were impacted. These governments provided support in addition to the federal funds. For example, Queensland allocated over $27 million to various efforts, while New South Wales contributed more than $46 million.

Racing and Wagering Western Australia

This is the government body that regulates racing in Western Australia. The outbreak cost this agency around $500 000, a figure that does not include lost employee time and approximately $15 million in lost wagering revenue. Some of this was recovered through insurance, but it’s now unlikely that they will be able to get further insurance to cover outbreaks.

Harness Racing Industry

It’s always hard to figure out the true costs to an industry after a major disaster because the trickle down effect goes so far, affecting people who provide support and services (e.g. hay suppliers) to various businesses that are affected directly because people in those groups don’t have money to spend. The total identifiable costs were calculated to be over $23 million, about half of which was to owners and trainers. The authors acknowledge the true costs were probably much higher.

Inquiry

A large inquiry was commissioned after the outbreak. This cost over $5 million.

Animal Health Australia

This group coordinated the emergency response and had to divert tremendous personnel time and resources. This included the vaccination program that distributed 670 000 doses of vaccine.

Households and businesses

Overall, it was estimated that horse associations lost $281 million, horse businesses $65 million and households $34 million.

Horse deaths

The value of horses that were reported to have died was close to $1 million, despite the fact that equine flu is uncommonly fatal. This number doesn’t include intangible costs associated with losing a horse. However, reported deaths may be a minority and it was estimated that true horse death costs may have been $44 million. (However, I suspect the death rate estimate used for this value is high.)

Veterinary treatment

Estimated costs…$35.7 million.

Do the exact numbers matter? No. They simply show that an infectious disease outbreak can cost a lot. In many areas, horses receive little government attention because they are not food animals, despite the fact that the highly mobile horse population is probably at much higher risk of importing a new disease, and despite the fact that the economic impact of the industry is huge (and often overlooked by governments and groups that fund agricultural research).

If nothing else, this should serve as a reminder to government and industry groups that attention needs to be paid to infection control and emergency planning. While groups are often reluctant to put  much or any time, effort and funds into these areas, the amount of money that would be spent is inconsequential compared to the potential impact of even a small outbreak.

via Equid Blog 

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horseoz

I ride horses and compete in Dressage, Showjumping and Eventing or Horse Trials. I also own and run an Equestrian property to the East of Melbourne, Australia. In my spare time I run a couple of websites including http://www.horseoz.com and http://www.carinyapark.com. To afford all this I work a full time job, so the definition of spare time is usually after dark. Sleep is over rated ;-) In my Blogs I try to tell what I am doing with the horses, give some updates with regards to the equestrian events I am attending and any relevant news about horse health and performance. I also give reviews on any new products I get my hands on related to my horsey activities If yuo want to buy or sell horses or anything equestrian related try http://www.horseoz.com/forsale

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