Horse owners in Australia are coming to terms with the loss or injuries of their horses. But those terms have resulted in a $53 million dollar lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant, Zoetis Australia. The horse owners claim that Zoetis’ Hendra Virus vaccine has caused severe injuries and deaths in the horse community.
The lawsuit claims that Zoetis failed to complete proper trials and rushed to release Equivac HeV. The vaccine was fully approved back in 2015. The horse owners also claim that vets promoting the vaccine were done without proper permits.
Australian riding instructor, Sarah Venamore, watched her horse, Bubbles, pass away after receiving the Equivac HeV vaccine. Venamore also claims she isn’t a “anti-vaxxer,” something she’s now being labeled by a country ripe with vaccine extremism.
“It took her a week to die. She was groaning and in pain, so she was put down,” she told The Sunday Telegraph.
Another horse owner, Natalie Schultz, described the sad and scary details of her horse, Claude, dying on the ground after the vaccine.
“He was lying flat on the ground covered in sweat and didn’t get up when I walked over,” she said. “I called the vet who said he had never seen anything like it.”
Lawyer Michael Hyland, who is representing the horse owners, gave the following statement.
“We believe Zoetis has a case to answer as it relates to failing to properly trial and test the product, breaches of their minor use permit and failing to exercise pharmacovigilance, leading to breaches of Australian consumer law and other legislation governing the sale of animal medicines.”
Hendra is a virus spread by bats in the region and can be deadly. It is only known to exist in Australia. 100 horses and four humans have died over the past 25 years due to the Hendra virus infection.
Hendra required that the horses take booster vaccines six months following the original shot. Many Australian vets refused to treat any horses that had not been vaccinated with Equivac HeV, forcing a lot of horse owners to comply.