Posted: 7th March 2019 | Back to news feed
With multiple outbreaks of Equine Influenza (flu) hitting the headlines in recent weeks, more and more people are talking about the importance of good biosecurity.
Equine flu is just one of several highly infectious diseases that can affect horses, causing not just misery for your own four-legged friend but for the wider equestrian community too.
Whether you’re a yard manager or an individual horse owner, you can help prevent the spread of these devastating diseases by joining Redwings Horse Sanctuary’s award-winning ‘Stamp Out Strangles’ campaign and working together to raise the flag for better biosecurity across the country.
Strangles is the UK’s most common infectious disease with more than 600 outbreaks recorded on average each year. But thanks to better understanding of the disease, alongside improvements in diagnosis and treatment, we are better placed than ever before to protect our horses.
Redwings knows there is a real appetite across the horse world to turn knowledge into action, and in November 2018 the registered charity launched its Stamp Out Strangles ‘Pledge’ for horse owners and yard managers, and already has 361 and 94 signed-up respectively with the numbers continuing to rise.
As pledgers, horse owners agree to champion good biosecurity practices, to communicate openly if their horse may have been in contact with strangles, and to clear their horse of being a strangles carrier if they become infected.
Meanwhile, yard managers pledge to reduce the strangles risk at their businesses through screening new arrivals, producing a yard protocol for their clients and responding immediately if a strangles case is suspected.
By committing to just three practical steps, horse owners and yard managers can help reduce the number of strangles outbreaks, making a meaningful difference to the lives of their horses and their businesses.
The Pledge is part of a new Stamp Out Strangles online hub created by Redwings, full of free practical information, advice and downloadable resources on spotting the signs of the disease and preventing or managing an outbreak. And with strangles and biosecurity being topics of continuous scientific research, all pledgers will receive regular updates so they can keep informed of the latest guidance and stay one step ahead of the disease.
Horse owners can also access a map of livery yards who have signed up to the Pledge so they can see which businesses are committed to helping protect their horses from strangles.
Andie Vilela, Education and Campaigns Manager, said: “We understand it can be hard to make changes to hygiene practices, especially while fitting busy lives around caring for horses. However, we know the appetite to improve biosecurity standards is out there. Over 90% of more than 2,000 horse owners we surveyed in 2016 said strangles should be more of a priority, and 80% said they would chose a livery yard that screens new arrivals for the disease.
“With the launch of the Pledge and new online hub, we hope this will give horse owners and yard managers the impetus and support to make meaningful changes so together we can stay one step ahead of strangles and stamp out this disease for good.”
To take the Pledge or access the Stamp Out Strangles hub, visit www.redwings.org.uk/strangles - and make sure to share the news with your friends on social media, using the hashtag #StampOutStrangles.