ADRIAN Todd is aiming to have South Africa opened up for direct equine exports to Europe within the next six months but he stresses that he needs further government help to achieve this long-awaited goal, writes MICHAEL CLOWER.
Todd, former boss of Cape Thoroughbred Sales and for the past 18 months managing director of South Africa Equine Health and Protocols, spelt out his considerable progress in an interview with James Goodman on Monday night’s Winning Ways.
He said: “I am confident we will achieve this (unrestricted horse exports) before a year and I am shooting at trying to get it all sorted out by June.”
Todd was appointed to head SAEHP by Chris van Niekerk (the initial chairman) in 2017 with Mike de Kock also a director. Since then Van Niekerk has taken a back seat and Brian Finch has become chairman. De Kock is still on the board but has been joined by a number of prominent people in the industry including Summerhill Stud boss Mick Goss.
Equine exports to Europe, and indeed to the rest of the world, have been repeatedly banned as a result of African Horse Sickness outbreaks and in recent years the only way out has been via an extended quarantine period in Mauritius.
Todd stressed that he has had a lot of help from the South African government but what he needs now is an audit of the protocols by the European Union’s veterinary officials.
He said: “We have a protocol in place with Hong Kong but it is under temporary suspension. However the minute we start trading with the EU other countries will come on line. The world looks to the EU which is considered a gold standard.
“What we need now from government is a final political push to get the EU to come here and to get them to reinstate our direct trade. For the first time ever I believe we are in a position to pass an EU audit and government also feels confident that we will pass.
”If we do so the next thing that will happen is that a report will be lodged with the EU veterinary commission and it could take six to eight weeks for the report to be finalised.”
Todd is fully aware of the possible pitfalls between here and what has for so long seemed as elusive as the end of the rainbow. He knows that some countries are still not fully convinced that South African horses will not bring African Horse Sickness with them.
“For the first time I believe we are on the brink but the last thing we need is for a concerned foreign industry within the EU to lobby against us even if we pass the audit.”
This is what happened before when bloodstock agent Grant Pritchard-Gordon (now also a member of the CTS yearling inspection team) tried to promote South Africa’s cause only to be shot down by the British TBA.
Todd believes that this is South Africa’s moment and that there will only be one chance. “If we don’t get it right this time we can forget about it for a generation and, if we don’t get it, we are in serious trouble. South Africa must export and we now need the audit. We also need this final (government) push to get the EU here. For the first time we are on the brink.”
The Australian was a big success at CTS but if he pulls this one off he will transform the fortunes of South Africa’s dwindling band of thoroughbred breeders and allow our best horses to fly the flag around the world. He will also warrant a place in racing’s Hall Of Fame.