Roy Exum is known for his articles on horse “soring”. In this case, he tackles Ebola and the “horse sense” of one veterinarian. The fear from the spread of Ebola is something weighing heavily on Americans minds these days. How we treat our animals during times of epidemics are extremely different from how we treat ourselves. They are our property and are treated as such. We weigh more heavily for ourselves our desire for freedom over our desire for safety. I am not saying we should treat ourselves like we do our horses…but perhaps there could be a better compromise. ~ HfH
From: The Chattanoogan
By: Roy Exum
I suspect you’ve heard by now that a doctor in New York City, who volunteers with “Doctors Without Borders,” just got back from the African nation of Guinea on October 17 – last Friday – and on Thursday tested positive for the deadly Ebola virus.
Luckily, he came in actual contact with only a few people but he reportedly rode a subway, took a taxi, went on a three-mile run and spent one night bowling with friends before he started feeling badly and exhibited a fever of 103 degrees.
I applaud Dr. Craig Spencer for his efforts to help ravaged people in Africa and I have every confidence that he will get through his sickness with the help of America’s dazzling medical resources. Yet I also think we ought to pay a little more attention to what we already know really works.
Dr. David Rustebakke is a large-animal veterinarian in far-away Clarkston, Washington. He’s been practicing for over 40 years and he knows quite a bit about “horse sense,” because almost every patient he has is really a horse. The guy is a professional, trained and experienced in four-legged patients.
Clarkston, aptly named for explorer William Clark of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, is in southwest Washington and is where the Snake and Clearwater Rivers meld. The town is the gateway to North America’s deepest gorge, Hells Canyon, and it is a pretty spectacular place where Dr. Rustebakke often rides his own horses and views the world’s splendor.
As a veterinarian, he also understands viruses better than most, so not long ago he wrote a “Letter to the Editor” that appeared in the nearest newspaper, the Lewiston (Idaho) Tribune. And, yes, the Idaho town was named for Meriweather Lewis, William Clark’s pal.
See if you don’t think Dr. Rustebakke’s letter makes a little sense:
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To The Editor:
If I wish to import a horse into the United States from Liberia or any African country other than Morocco, the horse needs to undergo a 60 day quarantine period at a USDA approved quarantine facility prior to mingling with the general population of horses in this country.
Africa has a disease called African Horse Sickness that does not exist in the US; this is the way we have kept it out of this country. African Horse Sickness does not cause disease in people, only horses; our government has determined that it would be devastating to the US horse industry if it were to come here.
The United States (and virtually all other countries) require a myriad of tests and often quarantine prior to bringing in a foreign animal.
I can’t legally cross state lines in the United States with a horse or cow without a health certificate signed by a USDA accredited veterinarian stating that the animal has been inspected and found free of infectious disease. In most cases blood tests are also required. In fact I can’t legally cross the Snake River and ride my horse in Washington without a health certificate and a negative blood test for Equine Infectious Anemia.