Sunday, July 24, 2011


Some interesting comments from Darryl Sherer in Friday’s ANZ Bloodstock News:

It has been something of a tumultuous week for the media. Politicians have been copping their collective share of flak as well. So, given that Rupert Murdoch has had what could probably be best described as not his best week in the office, one could possibly suggest that the octogenarian has suffered enough without the Australian Prime Minister threatening to unleash her intellectual prowess upon sorting out the mess the media has become. In her qualified opinion of course.
Closer to home it has been a case of repetitive strain injury for those with an eye on events in England as well as following Cadel Evans and Le Tour, never mind the football and boxing this week. The remote control has had a thorough working over. And Tiger, please, you need Stevie. He is, after all, the highest paid sportsman in New Zealand. Adam Scott is a lucky golfer.
So, given the degree of headline-attractive happenings, it is easy to overlook the action taken by the Malaysian Government in banning horse imports from Australia due to the latest outbreak of Hendra Virus.
This insidious virus is becoming an unwelcome visitor. The flying foxes that are the cause are native to Australia. Not their fault that their droppings can cause such chaos in the wrong circumstance.
What is worrying is that we in Australia seem to be getting caught up in diseases that we could certainly do without. Think Equine Influenza.
So, with the latest round of Government fundings and pari-mutual licence allocation, I’d like to suggest some worthy causes for some assistance.
Not so long ago – less than 12 months to be exact – the industry was applauding the development of a vaccine to protect against Hendra Virus. While this will come to pass, the shrinking world and the increased movement of horses around the globe means that Australia and New Zealand can’t rely on their island status to protect them from exotic diseases.
It is fantastic that Tabcorp have signed up for the pari-mutual licence in Victoria. It is fantastic that New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing has backed the new programme system. Racing is fantastic. Breeding is fantastic.
But – you knew it was coming – with all the attention on matters exotic, it is very easy to forget the obvious and we have to focus really hard on the basics.
We need to allocate funds to research. We need to allocate funds to prevention of disease because if we find ourselves ravaged by a form of equine disease, we will end up with no racing, and no funds for anyone. And that will not be good.

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