'Lacking proper medical procedures'

Iraqi Equestrian Federation denounces festival

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi Equestrian Federation has issued a statement denouncing the Sumer Arabian Horse Festival, which took place in Baghdad. The event, attracting horse owners from various parts of Iraq, including Erbil and Basra, was criticized for not adhering to essential medical examination standards for the participating horses.

Ahmed Al-Alooji, the media director of the Iraqi Equestrian Federation, described the festival as a commercial venture lacking affiliation with the federation. “The Sumer Horse Festival, organized annually by private stable owners, fails to meet the legal and medical requirements established by the federation. This is particularly concerning due to the ongoing issue of Glanders epidemic in private stables,” Al-Alooji stated, emphasizing the federation’s concerns about health standards.

Glanders is a contagious and potentially fatal bacterial disease that affects horses, characterized by the formation of lesions in the lungs and ulcers in the mucous membranes, posing significant health risks to both animals and humans.

The Iraqi Equestrian Federation is seeking to align its standards with international norms in the wake of challenges, including historical sanctions and a glanders epidemic among horses. This effort is geared towards enhancing the quality and safety of equestrian activities within Iraq, with the ultimate goal of facilitating the country’s re-entry into global equestrian events and ensuring compliance with international health and safety standards for horses.

In defense, festival organizers and participants highlighted their efforts to celebrate and preserve Iraq’s rich equestrian heritage. Reda Al-Maysani, a stable owner involved in the festival, contested the federation’s claims, focusing on the event’s cultural significance. “The festival is an essential platform for honoring the equestrian traditions of Iraq and the Arab world. It saw widespread participation from horse breeders across the country, along with foreign and Arab visitors, demonstrating a collective effort to revive a dwindling tradition,” Al-Maysani said, acknowledging the importance of the festival in promoting interest in equestrian culture.

Despite the federation’s criticisms, organizers maintain that their primary goal is to respect and rejuvenate interest in Iraq’s equestrian legacy, choosing not to engage in disputes with the federation’s members. The event showcased the beauty and skill of Arabian horses, drawing participants from Ninawa, Basra, Erbil, and beyond, indicating a growing nationwide interest in horse ownership and equestrian activities.

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