UP committed to humane handling of horses used for testing vaccines


OBP is aware of the concerns which have been raised in this regard and specifically the negative publicity campaign which has targeted OBP and was driven by welfare organisations. To address the matter in an inclusive manner major role-players from the scientific arena as well as from the animal welfare community were invited to participate. An independent facilitator was used to ensure all attendees would have an opportunity to express their opinions and make suggestions as to possible solutions for the way forward. OBP once again reiterated its commitment to animal protection and ethics and has demonstrated this through their willingness to engage in this exercise with all concerned parties.

The purpose of the workshop was to investigate the facts and understand the issues raised by all parties, with a view to finding a workable solution which would address the concerns of all the role players.

The discussions were fruitful and had the full cooperation of all present. The following outcomes were agreed by all parties:

1. OBP is committed to the cessation of all commercial slaughter of the horses used in its facility.

2. An OBP Horse Welfare Committee will be formed which will include the participating animal welfare organizations which will assist OBP in setting standards and processes for the sale or disposal of horses.

3. The welfare organizations present at the meeting will be invited by OBP to participate in the initial formation of the committee as members.

4. OBP, with the assistance of the committee, will set the criteria (Code of Practice) by which welfare organizations will be approved in terms of their viability, sustainability and ability to monitor what becomes of horses placed with them. Welfare organizations which will assist in the disposal or sale of horses will need to indemnify OBP against any further responsibility for the horses.

5. OBP will compile a proposed “Terms of Reference” for the OBP Horse Welfare committee.

6. The OBP Horse Welfare Committee will investigate various methods of euthanasia and the most suitable method will be considered and put forward for acceptance. This will be used as a last resort, should all other methods of saving the horses in question be exhausted.

7. It was further agreed that the interested parties would issue a joint statement summarising the “in principle” agreement reached to date and that no participant would issue any further individual statement in connection with the matters under discussion. Each participant would use their best endeavour and means of communication to distribute the joint statement. All parties are committed to the welfare of not only the animals used by OBP but also the thousands of equines who benefit from the research and vaccine products produced by OBP.

8. The participants agreed they are all jointly committed to working together to find a sustainable and satisfactory solution to the problem of disposing of the horses under discussion and will jointly seek to reach a point where the concerns of all parties are fully addressed and dealt with.

9. The first meeting of the OBP Horse Welfare Committee has already taken place.

OBP would like to take the opportunity to thank the participants for their contribution. OBP further believes that, in a spirit of co-operation, a sustainable solution capable of implementation will ensure an acceptable outcome, both for the scientific community and for the animal and human clients of OBP. Onderstepoort Biological Products remains fully committed to the horse community at large, and believes that, in return, this community will acknowledge and support this initiative in full.

For further information please contact:





Tracy Forté


Wet Nose Animal  Rescue Centre

Kobus Du Toit


South  African Veterinary Foundation

Derek Du Toit


Animal  Rights Coalition

Bev Seabourne


Highveld Horse Care Unit

Allan Guthrie


Faculty of Veterinary Science, UP

Raynard Macdonald


Onderstepoort Biological Products (OBP)

Karen Kemp


EPONA Holdings


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