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Interview with the owner of Solanos

  • Veterinary

(April 10, 2010)
We publish an interview with the owner of Solanos, the horse positive to Equine Infectious Anaemia that was going to be put down and was saved thanks to IHP.
The absurdity of the current legislation about EIA results in all its evidence from her answers. We can see how the Ministerial Order of “surveillance” can indirectly turn into a death sentence for equines in perfect health.
As we wait for a change of the legislation, we can only repeat our call for help: IHP can’t be the only solution for the many owners that must face this situation. So we ask to anyone with love for horses and owning a suitable estate with all the criteria set by the Ministerial Order, to destiny it to house positive animals.

When did you discover Solano is EIA positive?
“On February 2010: Solanos was negative to the Coggin’s test and positive to the “Elisa’s Test”, the latter performed for the first time. Further controls performed at the EIA Reference Centre in Pisa gave both a positive results.”

Had other tests been performed in previous years?
“Yes; the horse was tested with the Coggin’s test every year, always with a negative result. By what I read about EIA, I believe it’s possible for Solanos to have been positive for years, without it ever resulting in the tests and without him ever transmitting the virus to the many horses he came in contact with.”

Where and how did you find information about EIA and its transmission?
“Running internet searches and using my scientific knowledge, since I’m a doctor. Unfortunately, I’ve discovered it’s very difficult to verify the reliability of what is reported about this disease, because there are no official sources about this phenomenon.”

You had already signed the order to put Solanos down when you contacted IHP: why?
“I was coming from several days spent studying this disease and trying to understand why a healthy horse can be considered so dangerous to be isolated and sent away for life, when this virus’ characteristics make contagion almost impossible and when I know that every year thousand of slaughter-bound horses enter in Italy from Eastern Europe, without ever being tested for the disease.
I felt under pressure because I couldn’t find a solution for Solanos. On one side, there was the wall of the current legislation; on the other, the unsuccessful attempts to find a suitable place with all the criteria set by the law where to transfer him. Atop of this, paradoxically, I felt guilty toward the riding centre and the owners of all the other horses stabled there, who have been put under a still-standing order of sequestration. I was desperate and I couldn’t find a way out from that situation.”

Why did you contact IHP?
“While running my internet searches, I found the story of Dimmi Che Sì, the EIA positive mare saved from a fate similar to Solanos’ by a transfer to Filicaja. So I decided to make a last attempt.”

If the current legislation isn’t modified, you will have to be separated from Solanos for life. How does it make you feel?
“It saddens and upsets me. Due to some unhappy, personal past experiences, I live the separation from someone I care for as a tragedy—and Solanos has always been part of the family. I think this is very unfair and I hope the Health Ministry will take in consideration the scientific evidence about EIA and change the current legislation.”

Solanos has been saved in extremis from an absurd, unjustified death, thanks to you and IHP. What do you feel when you think of all the healthy horses put down or slaughtered in the past three years only because positive to EIA and their owners?
“Rage and pain. I don’t know what it would have happened to me, at a psychological level, if Solanos had been put down. I would have never forgiven myself for sentencing my horse to death with my signature, maybe only to discover, in a not too far future, that EIA will no longer be considered a danger. I feel pain for all those horses, as strong and healthy as Solanos, that are no longer here, put down because of a disease that is everything but dangerous and easily transmitted. I also feel rage for the way situations like mine are handled by the authorities, without the slightest consideration for the owner’s emotions and the love they feel for their horses. The right to life is trampled over by bureaucracy and economic reasons.”