Levy proposal in online Australian survey clarified

July 9, 2009

The Australian Horse Industry Council has moved to clarify issues around a proposed horse levy, which is among questions being asked in an online survey of horse owners.

The council said animal owners in all other livestock industries contributed towards programmes of benefit to their industries.

"Currently, the horse industry is at a distinct disadvantage because there is no ongoing funding for research and so on," it said.

"The levy questions seek to find out if you think that this would also be a good idea for the horse industry. There is a related question about what you consider might be a suitable levy amount, with suggested ranges from $A25 per horse to $A100 per horse annually.

These amounts are equivalent to the following weekly or monthly contributions:

"As you would be aware these are comparatively small amounts given the cost of keeping horses. The question is often asked about the person who owns 20 or more horses.

"Such individuals are in the distinct minority of the industry. Current industry surveys indicate that most horse owners have only two or three horses. Any industry activities need to be aimed at the 'average' person in the industry.

A levy amount of $A25 annually is roughly equivalent to the price of:

"So this question could be asked in another way - Are you willing to contribute the equivalent of a couple of bales of grass hay once a year to support the national horse industry and its programmes that benefit everybody?"

The council said several hundred people had already completed the survey, which also seeks general information about horse owners.

"Currently, there is no reliable information on how horse owners compare with the general Australian population. The questions asked are the same as those put by the Australian Bureau of Statistics in the national census. Thus there can be a comparison made in the various different parts of Australia that are analysed in the census."