What about us? Locals are forgotten 'flu victims

By UTE SCHULENBERG

EQUINE flu vaccinations may have landed in Australia but Rachael McCallum is not expecting to see any of the vials coming her way soon.

The owner of Bellingen's Fairytale Tours knows that compared to the racing industry's lobbying power, her's is insignificant.

She also wonders why she is not able to do single-horse weddings, when on Wednesday dozens of horses were permitted to line up for the races in Coffs Harbour.

"I'm not really sure of all the complexities of how this disease spreads but I do question the wisdom of having a couple of dozen horses standing together, breathing over each other and about the place," Ms McCallum said.

For her there's no coming out of the stalls.

"Everything is at a standstill, in lockdown.

"It's the peak wedding season and we've had to cancel six bookings and now it's the school holidays and we are off the streets and out of work."

She said daily life has changed radically.

"I no longer feel like I own a horse business, my job now is to hassle.

"I ring the Department of Primary Industry daily and work on submitting the funding applications for financial relief.

"They are offering $5000, which is about a month's income, but for that you have to fill out 25 pages of detailed financial questions, right down to listing all your unpaid bills."

It's not all gloomy however.

Ms McCallum says she has been learning lots and has been bitten by the training bug.

"I've been studying horse massage and training techniques. It's great for the horses with daily training their condition is excellent."

"Ironically, they have never looked so good it's a pity no-one will see them."

Ms McCallum is just hoping the ban on horse movements doesn't run on into Christmas & and in the meantime is looking for school holiday work.

"I'm pretty skilled and happy to do anything."

Phone Fairytale Tours on 0423 671 581.



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