International Conference on the Equine Disease Free Zone further strengthens co-operation between Mainland and Hong Kong (with photos)

     To promote cross-boundary movement of horses and the Equine Disease Free Zone (EDFZ) concept, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) and the Hong Kong Jockey Club (HKJC) jointly held the International Conference on the EDFZ today (December 12) at the HKJC Sha Tin Clubhouse. More than 140 government officials from the Mainland, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Africa, Korea, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, the United States and Hong Kong, and veterinary and academic counterparts from various institutions and professional bodies, attended the Conference. The Conference was one of the celebration activities for the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
     An EDFZ is a zone free of specified multiple equine diseases, and is a concept supported by the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). In light of worldwide expansion of horse competition and the benefits that can accrue from such activities, introduction of the EDFZ concept can ensure that safe and successful international horse competitions are held in a number of countries.
     The Food and Health Bureau (FHB) signed two collaboration agreements on veterinary co-operation and equine inspection and quarantine associated with the use of equestrian venues after the Guangzhou Asian Games with the Ministry of Agriculture (MOA) and the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) earlier respectively, which enable Hong Kong racehorses to receive training at the Horse Training Centre in Conghua, Guangzhou. The Conghua EDFZ shall implement biosecurity measures, adopt close population management at the Conghua Horse Training Centre and comply with relevant quarantine requirements. There is also strict regulation and monitoring for equine transportation. Under the arrangement, horses would not require quarantine isolation and could go direct to races or exercise upon arriving in Hong Kong from Conghua.
     Officiating at the opening ceremony, the Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, said the animal import and export control system in Hong Kong has earned international confidence, and the OIE considers Hong Kong to be free from the vast majority of serious infectious equine diseases. Hong Kong will further strengthen its testing services for equine diseases, with a view to developing Hong Kong into a testing centre and transportation hub for horses participating in international competitions. As Conghua is located in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Bay Area, she said she believes the Conghua EDFZ and Training Centre will constitute an excellent example for the development plan of the Bay Area.
     The Chief Executive also witnessed the Signing Ceremony of four Co-operation Agreements between Mainland authorities and Hong Kong. The Co-operation Agreements were signed between the AQSIQ and the FHB, the Veterinary Bureau of the MOA and the FHB, the Guangdong Entry-exit Inspection and Quarantine Bureau and the AFCD, and the Department of Agriculture of Guangdong Province and the AFCD. They cover measures to facilitate the operation of the Conghua EDFZ, including the establishment of an expert group comprising officials from the Mainland and Hong Kong to handle biosecurity matters and arrangements on quarantine, surveillance and control of disease.
     The Secretary for Food and Health, Professor Sophia Chan; the Permanent Secretary for Food and Health (Food), Mrs Cherry Tse; the Under Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Chui Tak-yi; and the Director of Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation, Dr Leung Siu-fai, also attended the event.
     A series of talks and forums were held during the Conference. Participants will visit the state-of-the-art training, stabling and horse care facility in Conghua tomorrow (December 13). For details of the conference, please visit

Ends/Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Issued at HKT 17:51