Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1277, (7 - 13 January 2016)
Tuesday,25 September, 2018
Issue 1277, (7 - 13 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

End of Arabian horse ban in sight?

EFFORTS are underway to end a five-year ban on EU imports of Egyptian Arabian horses, reports Doaa Abdel-Moneim.

Arabian horse
Arabian horse
Al-Ahram Weekly

Since 2011, the European Union (EU) has imposed a ban on the importation of Egyptian Arabian horses. A visit by officials from the European Commission’s Food and Veterinary Office to Egypt in 2010, to evaluate compliance with EU standards for live-horse importation, found that Egypt did not meet the required standards.

A delegation from the EU will visit Egypt this month to discuss cooperation in the field of agriculture as well as the import ban on Arabian horses, Ibrahim Mahrous, head of the General Authority for Veterinary Services, recently announced. Mahrous said he will deliver a report to the delegation on the authorities’ efforts to meet the EU conditions to lift the ban.

In 2010 the EU mission concluded in its official report that “the lack of supervision and documentation of official controls at all levels renders those controls unreliable. Confidence in the health status of equine animals is affected by shortcomings in the management of suspected and confirmed cases of disease in the country. Under control conditions, the certification of equidae [horses] does not meet the requirements of their entry to the EU.”

At that time, the government promised that it would take action to meet the EU requirements, but this was delayed as a result of the 25 January Revolution. The current ban applies not only to horses but also to other types of animals.

Sohair Hassan, supervisor of the Central Animals Medical Laboratories at the Ministry of Agriculture, told Al-Ahram Weekly that over the past few years the Egyptian side has prepared eight files showing that the country has met the the EU requirements, but these have not been accepted by the EU. Livestock imports are regulated by the EU Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union.

Egyptian Arabian horses have acquired international fame and the industry is a large one: the country’s more than 900 registered farms have been negatively affected by the EU ban. The price of a thoroughbred Arabian horse starts at LE100,000 and can easily go up to one million, Hassan said.

Mohamed Badrawy, a prominent Egyptian Arabian horse breeder, stresses that the industry has been a casualty of the ban. Egypt has lost its foreign market as a result, he said, and the local market has become the only alternative. This had led to a surplus in supply and a fall in prices.

“Rearing Arabian horses is very expensive, costing LE1,200 a month per horse and not counting veterinary care and workers’ salaries. You can imagine the losses that Egypt has incurred as a result of the ban,” Badrawy said.

The writer is a freelance journalist.

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