Horseowners are being asked to have their say about the possible introduction of mandatory identification for all horses in NSW.
NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is seeking feedback via a short online survey to gauge interest and support for a simple NSW horse identification scheme.
“This initiative was originally raised by NSW Police via NSW Rural Crime Investigators,” said DPI Director Biosecurity & Food Safety Compliance, Peter Day.
“DPI is prepared to take the initiative forward but we would need the support of the horse industry.
“I invite horseowners to participate as their feedback will help mould the future of the equine industry.
“People can respond to the survey on the DPI website at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au, on the NSW DPI Biosecurity and Food Safety facebook page or by completing an online survey form emailed to horse associations and groups.”
Mr Day said there are many potential benefits of identifying all horses in NSW, for example by microchip with details registered in a central database.
“It could improve disease control and traceability, reduce horse theft and misrepresentation, and benefit horse welfare,” Mr Day said.
“Rider and handler safety could be improved by reducing misrepresentation of a horse’s history and potentially enhancing purchaser information.
“Horse attendance could be more easily recorded at events where horses gather in numbers and pose a higher than normal biosecurity risk.”
Mr Day said it is not proposed that the level of traceability would extend to recording property to property movements, as required with the National Livestock Identification System for cattle.
“Any horse identification scheme would require industry support and would only be the result of industry feedback,” Mr Day said.
“Responses to the survey questions will help guide us towards the most practical and useful way to record the identity and location of horses.
“This could be the registration of a unique horse identifier, place of residence, owner’s contact details, any change of residence and the death of a horse.
“It would be a big boost to the biosecurity capability of NSW to know where horses are located in the event of a flood, fire or emergency disease outbreak, such as the Equine Influenza epidemic in 2007.”
Currently the requirement in NSW is that horse owners must obtain a property identification code (PIC) for the land on which horses are kept, but some properties with horses don’t have a PIC.
The survey is available to fill out online at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/animals-