March 6, 2008

Although equine influenza (EI) has now been conquered in NSW, Travelling Horse Statements (THS) and event registrations will remain compulsory for some time.

NSW deputy chief veterinary officer, Ian Roth, said permits and testing were no longer required for any horse movements within NSW, but it was still necessary to record horse movements as a precautionary measure.

"We are extremely confident the EI virus has burnt out in NSW, but just in case an undetected pocket of disease has evaded our widespread search, we need to ensure horse movements can be traced," Mr Roth said.

"The only requirement throughout NSW is to give prior notice of movements and events. No approval is needed.

"A THS must be carried on the journey when moving horses by vehicle or travelling to a horse event.

"This requirement will continue at least until the end of June.

"Horse events must be registered and the event number recorded on each THS before attending an event, so it is important for event organisers to register early.

"The NSW Department of Primary Industries has stepped up the monitoring of events to ensure compliance with these requirements.

"NSW Police will also continue stopping vehicles moving horses and checking for a THS.

"Heavy penalties apply for failure to produce a valid THS."

Travelling Horse Statements and event registrations can be lodged online at www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/equine-influenza or by calling 1800 675 888.

Mr Roth said it was crucial people continued monitoring the health of their horses and reporting sick horses, so swift action could be taken in the unlikely event an isolated pocket of infection remained.

"We will continue testing sick horses and conducting random tests, especially in the current green zone where there was previously a high rate of infection," he said.