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Extract from Draft Strategy for the Control of an Outbreak of African Horse Sickness in Great Britain (PDF 598KB)

7.3.6 Culling of infected animals

In the early stages of an outbreak of AHS, Government will act rapidly to kill infected horses, and those showing clinical signs of the disease on infected and contact premises. This action is necessary to prevent the disease spreading to and circulating within the midge population.

Specific categories of animals may be spared, but only if such action will not jeopardise the control of the disease. Examples include animals of a recognised rare breed of genetic importance, research, zoo species and other similar animals if vector protection measures can be applied, and they can be moved immediately to a maximally vector protected building that is fully operational at the time of diagnosis. Responsibility lies with the owners of these animals to ensure that appropriate facilities and other risk mitigations measures are fully funded, available and ready for use at the required time. A veterinary risk assessment must be undertaken before any such decision can be taken.

Should the disease continue to spread, and there is proof the disease is circulating in the midge population, continuing to kill infected animals may not be an appropriate response. In such circumstances, the Government will, with the approval of the Commission, stop killing animals, and instead focus efforts on available midge control, movement restrictions and possible vaccination.