Loudoun officials are announcing that a new facility could open as early as summer 2019 that would allow horses, livestock and family pets arriving in the U.S. from overseas to be processed at Dulles International Airport, instead of being flown to New York or Florida and driven hundreds to miles to the D.C. area.
“Loudoun started developing a master plan for the equine sector three years ago, as part of the Rural Economy Business Development Strategy,” said Kellie Hinkle, Loudoun’s Agricultural Business Development Officer. “The quarantine facility represents a foundational piece of building that strategy.”
Animals entering the U.S. must first be tested and isolated for several weeks to make sure they don’t bring in diseases or parasites. Currently, the only two quarantine facilities on the East Coast are at the JFK and Miami International airports. Bringing animals from those facilities to Loudoun requires extra time and expense that would be eliminated with the new facility at Dulles.
Loudoun partnered with Fauquier County on an impact and feasibility study for the quarantine facility. Between Loudoun, Fauquier and Fairfax counties, there are almost 130 horse shows and events in Northern Virginia each year. Processing the horses closer to where they will compete would mean less stress on the animals, and less expense for their owners.
“The equine industry contributes more than $180 million to Loudoun’s economy each year,” said Buddy Rizer, executive director of the Loudoun County Department of Economic Development. “Loudoun also has the most robust equine industry in Virginia, and is home to more than 15,000 horses.”
In addition to supporting Loudoun’s equestrian industry, the new facility would support other livestock industries, including cattle, sheep and goats. The facility would also result in less stress and expense for families bringing pets to the D.C. area from overseas. This region has a large population involved in international assignments, including military and defense personnel, foreign service agents, the diplomatic corps and the intelligence community.
The community is invited to attend a presentation on the quarantine facility on March 30 from 6-9 p.m. at Harmony Hall in Hamilton, VA. The event is free and open to the public, and is hosted by the Loudoun County Equine Alliance. Details are available at LoudounEquine.org/2017-equine-expo.
Companies in the equine and livestock industries interested in locating a business in Loudoun can contact Kellie Hinkle at 1-(800)-LOUDOUN.
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