Friday, January 25, 2013

Quarantine Rules for the EU - Importers Beware

I am always amazed at the way some people are willing to cut corners and do sneaky, underhanded and downright illegal things in the interest of getting customers and their money.  I have just learned about the lastest dirty trick that some quarantine facilities here in the USA are trying to pull.

When someone from the EU purchases an equine from the USA and wants to import the animal, that equine must meet the health requirements that have been agreed upon between the EU and the USA governments. One of those requirements is that the equine must be in quarantine for 30 days prior to export.  However, there was a recent change in the nature of the quarantine - and sneaky people are now  taking advantage of this opportunity to put one over on the government and on unsuspecting importers.

The 30 day quarantine is still required.  However, it is now "veterinary approved" instead of  "USDA approved".  Prior to this change, the USDA sent an inspector to the quarantine facility in order to approve the beginning of the quarantine period.  There were official documents that had to be signed and sent to the USDA, ensuring that the quarantine was handled properly.  And there were fees involved.

 That requirement has now changed.  It is now the accredited veterinarian whose name and signature goes on the health certificates who is responsible for ensuring that the horses were in quarantine for 30 days.

What I've been told is that some unscrupulous facilities are telling EU clients that the quarantine requirement has been completely removed and that they can get their equines shipped to them without delay.  They may actually be pulling the wool over the eyes of their veterinarians and convincing them to sign fraudulent documents in order to get away with this.  And of course, they can cut their prices because they are not feeding or caring for the horses for as long a period as those of us who play by the rules are doing.

In my humble opinion, this is playing with fire - and that kind of game usually does not have a happy ending.   When the EU or the US governments become aware of this practice, I am sure that there will be consequences for everyone engaged in the business of shipping horses.  The veterinarians who sign the fraudulent documents could be at risk of losing their credentials.  I would guess that all quarantine facilities will have to go back to the USDA inspection requirement ... and I would further suppose that any horses that arrive in the EU without having had the proper quarantine period will be at risk of being deported at the owner's expense.

So a word to the wise.  When you ask about quarantine and you are told that it is not required, be aware that you are being told a lie.  I personally would worry about doing business with someone who would lie and cheat in order to get my business.  It would make me wonder what other lies they might tell me.

I guess the old saying still applies.  Buyer beware!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

On to Kuwait

Wow.  What a neat start to the new year.  We have some beautiful horses on their way to Kuwait right now.  Many, many thanks to Burhan Bakeer, Jassim Al Mesbah and Awad Mubarak for allowing us to care for your lovely mares.  Thank you also to Jamal Al Kahok for your assistance ... and to Ellen May and Hans van Dyke for your excellent service as grooms.  We know that they are in very good hands!

Next week we are off to Dammam, Saudi Arabia, and then Amsterdam and Dammam again in February.

We are currently gathering horses for our next shipments to Amsterdam and Dammam - and are working on putting together our first shipment to Brazil.  Spaces are available, so let us know what we can do for you!