Why the brouhaha over Horse Flu?

There’s been an Outbreak of Horse Flu here in Australia, and the way the Media are carrying on you’d think the sky was falling, cows were giving sour milk, and that they were going to re-institute 6 O’clock closing at the pub.

I’m not a horse person, I’ll admit- I don’t go to the races or spend much time at the TAB etc, but I just can’t see why everyone seems to be getting so worked up over this.

From what I’ve read on Wikipedia, Horse Flu is the equine equivalent of a really bad cold, and rarely kills horses (mainly foals or elderly horses). And the horses usually get better again in a fortnight or so. How is that serious enough to cancel every horse racing-related activity in VIC, NSW, and QLD? They don’t ban people from moving around when there’s nasty strains of the flu about (OK, the Australian Constitution forbids them from doing it, but you know what I mean).

In short, I don’t understand what the big deal is- so what if the horses get sick? They’ll get better in a fortnight or so, from what I’m led to believe, so the current panic and hysteria over the whole thing really has me baffled.

Perhaps one of the Horse People here on the boards can explain why this whole thing is being taken so seriously?

If all the horses get sick, no races can happen for an extended period. If that was to happen nationally, simultaneously, it may go on for an even longer period, which would be financially unthinkably devastating.

It’s not a horsey health issue, it’s purely a greedy financial one.