Three Facts About EIA
By Don Blazer

The better test for EIA

Scare tactics can't compare to the facts, and the fact is those who advocate the quarantine or slaughter of EIA positive horses never present facts. Ask for facts. Know the truth.

1. Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) is not a threat.
EIA is so insignificant the USDA has no record of annual deaths. The USDA claims that .02% of the US horse population is infected. If there are 6.9 million horses, then 138,000 should be diseased. (It is a fact 95% never show symptoms and are never sick and do not infect other horses, so .05% could be seriously ill. If that were true, then 6,900 horses would die of EIA each year in U.S. But that is not happening. And the present quarantine/slaughter program does not protect healthy horses from anything.

2. There is an effective vaccine.
Dr. Roger Lloyd, a zoologist in Jacksonville, FL, is a member of the governing board of the American Chinese Veterinary Medical Frontiers, Inc., a corporation that has brought the EIA vaccine to the US for testing. According to Dr. Lloyd, preliminary tests run in China have demonstrated the vaccine to be effective against the American strain of EIA as well as the virulent Chinese strain. We could be using the vaccine.

3. There is a better way to protect horses against EIA.
Take a horse's temperature before he is shipped across state lines, or enters a show grounds, rack track or public horse facility. If the horse's temperature is normal, he isn't suffering from EIA, strangles, flu, Rhinopheumonitis or Potomac Horse Fever. The horse with a normal temperature is much safer around other horses than a horse with a negative Coggins test. The Coggins test is only good for 15 seconds. After the blood is drawn, the horse can get infected anytime. Of course, if he does, he'll run a temperature. So let's stop the tragic waste of quarantining or slaughtering hearty, useful, loving horses. Ask the director of your state department of agriculture to say, "no" to a senseless, discriminating program. Test for EIA. Euthanize acutely ill horses. Save hearty, useful horses.

The horse with a normal temperature is much safer around other horses than a horse with a negative Coggins test. The Coggins test is only good for 15 seconds.

A Little More Info on EIA
The disease is self-limiting. Even as the US horse population grows, the number of EIA positive horses decreases. This is true because "inapparent carriers" make up 95% of the infected horses, but these horses do not transmit the disease. (Scientific studies indicate a 1 in 6 million chance an inapparent carrier might contribute to infecting another horse.) In addition, transmission is complicated and difficult. Only certain horse flies transmit the disease by feeding on an infected horse. The feeding process must be interrupted, and the fly must have blood splattered around its mouth. If, within the next 15 minutes, the fly resumes feeding on a healthy horse, then the disease may be transmitted.

There are "hot" zones for EIA, and percentages are higher in such zones. However, the more horses tested outside the hot zones, the lower the percentage of infected horses. The fact is EIA is insignificant within the entire U.S. horse population. And it is not spreading, it is decreasing.

Quarantine and Slaughter are a TRAGIC, INEFFECTIVE WASTE
The argument that quarantine and slaughter can eradicate the disease makes absolutely no sense when you consider there is no effort to test all horses. Only about 20% of US horses are tested, so the program cannot possibly work. To advocate such a program only testifies to the ignorance that drives it. The quarantine and slaughter is the fear campaign that keeps the discriminatory testing mandatory and keeps the money flowing into the pockets of veterinarians and testing laboratories. It is time for politicians to be accountable for the financial and emotional losses they are causing.

If EIA were such a terrible threat to horses, then each state would institute an eradication program. But states won't name, list, develop, try or even suggest "eradication". Why? Money! If a state calls its EIA program an eradication effort, then it becomes responsible for the loss of the property and would have to pay the horse owner the value of the animal euthanized.

Ask your state senator or representative to learn about the state's EIA program, then ask for and insist on facts:

1. How many acute cases of EIA are there each year? How many horses die annually?

2. If there is no proof an "inapparent carrier" can infect another horse, why kill a healthy, useful horse?

3. If we stop killing or quarantining "inapparent carriers," what will be the projected increase in EIA deaths?

4. Wouldn't it be more effective and less costly in dollars and horses' lives to simply take a temperature reading on horses crossing state lines or entering public horse areas?

What's Happening
Marty Jo Hays is planning a class action suit on behalf of those who have had to quarantine or kill their EIA positive horses. Anyone interested in participating should contact Marty Jo Hays, PO Box 449, Eaton, OH, 45320, email or call (937) 456-1979.

"What Can We Do To Help?"
We Need You to Volunteer: We have had tremendous response to our initial efforts to educate, inform and change the government regulations concerning EIA positive horses. We are developing a program now that will target politicians, the ones who can legislate new procedures.

We are going to need volunteers from each state to get a group together to send the form letter we are developing to elected officials in each state. We'll have more details soon.

If you are interested in being the representative for your state, please email us at so we can start building a strong, organized network.

Quarantine and slaughter are a tragic, ineffective waste.

What You Can Do: Help me gather information and help me spread the word. If you would take the time to call your state representative or your state senator and ask them if they are even aware of the law which mandates the quarantine or slaughter of horses, and then send me the name of the legislator, his or her answer, and the name of your state's veterinarian, I can use the information in upcoming columns. I will thank you in upcoming columns as "those who have helped" without using your names, unless you want me to.

This battle to stop government from killing our horses simply to generate income for special interests is not going to be easy or short. I want government to recognize a new special interest group - horsemen.

Do you have facts on EIA? Questions for your state:

-Under what state law is the slaughter of EIA positive horses carried out?
-Has the state, by law, mandated the slaughter, or is slaughter within the discretion of the State Veterinarian or the -Director of the State Dept. of Agriculture?
-What are the criteria, or official statement by State Vet or Dir. of Dept. of Agriculture, or mandate by the State Legislation, that set into motion the necessity to slaughter an animal?
-What does the state determine is the threat to the horse population from EIA?
-Is there indemnity for horses slaughtered?
-Does the state indemnify any other animal slaughtered?
-How many horses died from EIA in 1999 or 2000?
-How many were tested (total) and how many were positive?
-How many horses were euthanized for having tested positive?
-How many were quarantined?
-What is the total horse population of your state?
-What is the state budget for the testing and enforcement of EIA actions?
-How many employees are involved?
-How much does the state spend to eradicate the horse fly that transmits the disease?
-Does the state have any prevention program in place?

Do you have, or have you ever had an EIA horse?
Your Name:
Your Email Address:
Affiliations with Equine Organizations
Employed by or working for State Government in any capacity?

EIA Questionnaire (This is available at as a printable EIA Form Letter to send to your state representative or legislator.)

Address to a specific state representative or legislator


Dear (use specific name):

Our state, in a discriminatory act, seizes and slaughters the personal horses of our citizens, and I am sure you are unaware of why and under what authority it is done. Implementation of the program was started many years ago.

I am asking you to learn the facts about Equine Infectious Anemia (EIA) and the quarantine or slaughter of horses that test positive for the virus.

It will not be difficult for you to discover there is no EIA "threat" to horses in this state, the state program does not protect any horse from infection, the state program is ineffective. If you ask for the facts instead of scare tactics, I'm sure you will recognize changes are needed in EIA control. (Ask how many horses die of EIA each year, and how the testing of only some horses can protect all horses; ask why there isn't a better way.) When the answers to your questions prove we kill and render useless far more horses than the disease, you'll have another question: What can we do?

Of course, it will not be hard for you to understand that a far more effective program would be the simple requirement that horses crossing state lines or going into public places have their temperature recorded. If the horse has no temperature, the horse is not sick. If the horse is sick, the horse can get immediate medical attention.

Enclosed you will find an EIA fact sheet.
(Found at )

I am requesting a written reply to this letter. Your position on this matter is of extreme importance to me and to the thousands of other horse owners in this state. Please make your reply on official letterhead.

Thank you for your immediate attention.

(Sign your name, give your address)

That's what you can do to help. Thanks for asking,
Don Blazer

Visit, where you can obtain a printable flyer on these EIA Facts.

Copyright © 2000 by Don Blazer

About the author:
Don Blazer, author of several books and numerous "how-to" training articles, has trained and ridden everything from mustangs to Thoroughbreds, including western and English pleasure horses, reining horses, endurance racers and 300-yard sprinters. He's jumped horses, cut cattle, been through obstacles and around barrels. Don has taught training and horsemanship at five colleges, and he has traveled the world demonstrating training techniques. He's an adjunct faculty member of the Equine Science Department, Scottsdale Community College, teaching courses based on his books. He has recently developed a unique distance learning course on Performance Horse Training that is being offered by Allegany College of Maryland. Today Don Blazer keeps busy writing, training and racing horses, and is often a guest speaker.

Don Blazer
Success Is Easy
13610 N. Scottsdale Rd., Suite 10-406
Scottsdale, AZ 85254

Help FRIENDS Ranch

FRIENDS Ranch (Florida Research Institute for Equine Nurturing, Development, and Safety, Inc.) needs friends. In 1970, a herd of horses had to be relocated to the Plantation Acres due to construction. Several months after the move, some of the horses tested positive for EIA. The law in Florida requires positive EIA horses to be quarantined on property with a 200-yard radius from the nearest negative horse. If that is not possible, the horse must be destroyed even though it is healthy.

One special lady and a handful of people started a quarantine ranch in 1970 that became a haven for these horses, as well as horses that had been abandoned. Some of the original members of that ranch are still with this organization, established as a non-profit organization in 1987. FRIENDS was formed when the ranch was once again forced to move because of construction.

It is FRIENDS' policy to allow researchers to draw blood samples for projects to continue to progress toward a vaccine and/or a cure for EIA. We have had many horses come through our gates who would have had to be destroyed had it not been for FRIENDS, who supports a "Sponsor-A-Horse" program.

FRIENDS is a family ranch where people go to escape the 'rat race' and get back to nature. It's a great place for the whole family to share their time together, with mental relaxation as well as good old-fashioned exercise! FRIENDS serves the community two-fold - they provide a haven for horses who would have been needlessly destroyed and they offer families a chance to get closer to nature. FRIENDS welcomes any groups or clubs to come for a visit.

FRIENDS ranch is a non-profit organization that has been working for years to protect positive, but healthy, horses. We are always looking for new members and supporters. Why not come and join us and sponsor a horse? If you cannot sponsor a horse, perhaps you could be a supporter and make a donation, or volunteer. THANK YOU!

The producers of the dewormer Zimectrin have agreed to send a $1 donation to FRIENDS Ranch for each Zimectrin label they receive. If you or someone you know uses Zimectrin, send the box label to:
1840 NE 65th Court
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308

For more information or to make an appointment:
1840 NE 65th Court
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33308
Volunteer: 954-443-9005
Sponsor: 954-389-7802