A Horse,
of Course

with Don Blazer

Iíve asked the states of Texas, Arizona and Oklahoma two simple questions about Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA). I didnít use any big words. I used short sentences. I thought I was clear enough.

But the questions are obviously too hard. I canít get any answers.

The first question: How many horses die of EIA annually in your state?

The second question: What is the criteria your state uses to determine when animals should be slaughtered in order to protect other animals?

I think these are important questions which require answers.

Carla Everett, the public information officer for the Texas Animal Health Commission (TAHC), never provided answers. She faxed 29 pages of information, none of which addressed the questions. Texas, according to TAHC, made their EIA regulations more stringent in 1997 when 750 horses tested positive out of 186,318 tested. That works out to four tenths of one percent. Is that a threat to the Texas horse population? I donít know because Texas wonít say if any of those horses died, were sick or even showed symptoms of EIA.

If the positive horses were "inapparent carriers"--no symptoms, no sickness, no disease transmission--then the preponderance of scientific evidence indicates they were no danger to other horses. Still, Texas requires ANY horse testing positive be quarantined for life or euthanized.

I sent e-mail to Dr. Carey Floyd and Dr. Rick J. Woodbridge, representatives of the state of Oklahoma. I asked the same questions of them since both are reported to be administrators of the state EIA program. In addition to the questions I e-mailed, I also asked if they would mind answering a questionnaire on my web page.

Apparently they did mind, or they canít find the "Reply to Author" button on their e-mail tool bar.

When an "advocate for answers" e-mailed the same questions, Dr. Woodbridgeís only response was: "Who is doing the survey? What is the purpose of the survey? Who will see the answers? Are you sending the survey to all 50 states?"

That prompts a new question? Do the answers change depending on who is doing the questioning and who will see the answers?

Of course, in Arizona it should be easy to get answers, right? After all, Iím a taxpaying resident. Jill Davis, information officer for the Arizona Department of Agriculture hasnít provided answers to my questions. Iíve called repeatedly, but canít get to talk with Sheldon Jones, director of the Arizona Department of Agriculture.

I had a nice discussion with Dr. Rick Willer, the Arizona state veterinarian, but he couldnít answer the questions. He said heíd get the answers and call me back. Itís been five months now and my telephone isnít ringing.

If EIA is such a tremendous threat that hearty, useful horses must be quarantined for life or euthanized, donít you think someone, somewhere would have answers to two questions?

I donít think advocates of the present EIA regulations want to know the answers. I think state agencies want to grow by enforcing stricter regulations, and veterinarians want to prosper by drawing blood for Coggins tests, and laboratories want to keep profits rolling by performing the tests.

If a Coggins test reports an EIA positive horse, so can taking a horseís temperature. (If the horse has a temperature, he may not have EIA, but heís got something or suffering some stress. He needs to be examined further, treated and cared for. If he doesn't have a temperature, even if he has a positive Coggins for EIA, he isnít under stress and he probably isnít sick.)

A Coggins test only tells you a horse is negative at the time the blood was drawn. Taking the horseís temperature only tells you the horse wasnít sick at the time his temperature was taken.

A negative Coggins test allows a horse to be with other horses at shows, public stables, and cross state lines even if he is running a temperature and is contagiously sick with something.

Taking a horseís temperature says he isnít sick or under stress now and therefore other horses are not endangered by him.

Instead of killing horses because they want to go to a show or cross state lines, why donít we just take their temperature?

Oh, darn thereís another question no one is going to want to answer.

But I know the answer to this one. Itís too much trouble; it takes 3 minutes or so, and it kills the profit motive instead of the horse.

Click here to find out what you can do to Stop EIA Slaughter

Click here to read the full article "Stop Coggins Slaughter!"

Click here to read "More on EIA"

Click here to read "The Latest on EIA"

Click here to read What Are The EIA Facts?

Each month you'll find a new column on our web site. We hope you'll enjoy it, and maybe e-mail us with questions or suggestions for other columns. A Horse, Of Course is a weekly column syndicated by Success Is Easy. If you like the column, call your local newspaper, or local horse publication and ask them to subscribe by contacting Success Is Easy, 13610 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite 10-406, Scottsdale, AZ 85254


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