A deadly horse virus outbreak at a Utah equestrian event has spread through several western states, including California, causing cancellation of shows and events. This news prompted an emergency meeting of the Mule Days Executive Board Tuesday night to give serious thought to cancellation of the event. Wednesday, officials said that Mule Days will proceed as scheduled – May 24-29.
In a press release from the board of directors, officials say that their decision to proceed with Mule Days “was not made lightly and comes after many hours of consultation with a variety of experts including, but not limited to, State of California veterinary officials and professors at the prestigious UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.”
With Mule Days less than a week away, this news shocked and concerned many organizers and participants. A few competitors have called to cancel. According to Mule Days board members, UC Davis studies show that while mules and donkeys are asymptomatic carriers of the virus, they rarely develop the disease. Board members said that Davis officials urge “solid animal husbandry practices and minimized contact between mules and horses for those planning to attend.” Bishop Mule Days will implement procedures to meet UC Davis’s suggested guidelines.
The press release ends with the statement that “Bishop Mule Days recognizes that this remains a developing situation and will continue to monitor it. Should there be any change in schedule or direction of the event,” said officials, “information will be posted on our website as soon as it is available.”