819 horses present in Babylon alone
Equine register hopes to improve Iraq’s equestrian scene
BAGHDAD, January 22 – The Babylon Agriculture Directorate reported the presence of 819 horses across the governorate, according to an official survey conducted last December. The directorate has begun issuing identification documents for horses registered with them, facilitating their transportation between governorates.
The statistics revealed that Al-Hamzah Al-Gharbi district holds the largest number of horses at 200, followed by Al-Qasim district with 150, and Al-Shumali district with 125.
Experts told the 964media that sanctions on horses after Saddam Hussein’s regime invaded Kuwait, and the subsequent escalation of violence after the fall of his regime, hindered communication with international bodies. Additionally, the government’s flagging response to a glanders epidemic affecting horses in Iraq and the region necessitates urgent action with multiple international parties.
Dr. Ahmed Jassim, Head of the Studies Unit at Al-Qasim Agriculture, informed the 964media that the census found no purebred Arabian horses in the region. Most are hybrids, along with a few Egyptian and Iranian horses.
The census also aided in allocating feed and vaccine quantities and tracking all horses in the governorate.
Ali Abdul Amir Al-Issawi, Head of the Horse Census Team in Babylon, stated to the 964media: “We’ve issued identification cards for all registered horses, making Babylon the first governorate to do so. These documents are crucial for permitting inter-governorate horse transport and identifying horse types and breeds.”
Iraq has been banned from international participation since the end of the Iran-Iraq war and the Second Gulf War. Official statements attribute this ban to the spread of glanders, a disease affecting horses, mules, and donkeys, which can also be transmitted to humans, according to Mahmoud Hussein, former secretary of the Equestrian Federation who spoke to 964media.
Iraq is allowed to import horses but is prohibited from exporting them for regional and international competitions.
This increased focus on horses, including establishing a database and identifying necessary vaccines, aims to lift the embargo imposed on Iraq and alleviate international concerns. There is hope that the efforts towards registering and accounting for horses within Iraq will be major steps towards this goal.