What’s the best way to levy the horse industry?


An either-or situation is happening in Australia right now – either the horse industry agrees on a disease-fighting levy, or voluntary equine influenza vaccinations will be allowed.

Levy suggestions so far for our friends across the Tasman include a levy on wormers, shoes, registrations, and event entries. More than one system may be put in place, if the plan goes ahead. There’s no word yet on the amount of the proposed levy.

Introducing a system on this scale will not be easy, and some horses will fall through the cracks – those who don’t wear shoes, are never wormed, not registered and don’t compete.

So is there an equitable system which will include all horses? And be fairer to the horses who pose a lower risk of spreading disease?

Would a horse passport system such as that implemented in Britain be the way to go in Australia?

Bear in mind that if voluntary vaccination is brought in, quarantine for Australian horses heading to New Zealand will likely be five weeks – as opposed to the current free trade situation. That will cost.

Either way, don’t be surprised that whatever happens in Australia happens in New Zealand, too.

» What do you think is the best type of levy? Or would you prefer voluntary vaccination? Add your comments below.

2 thoughts on “What’s the best way to levy the horse industry?

  • May 14, 2010 at 4:47 pm

    I am an Australian Horse Owner who has been heavily involved in this debate since EI first broke out. The current situation in Australia is far from ideal and raises more intrinsic issues that need to be addressed first before we even debate a levy.
    Firstly, the need to review the current horse disease categories under EADRA(Emergency Animal Disease Response Agreement) as these establish the cost sharing arrangements for each disease outbreak that occurs. What EI showed was that as a category 4 disease it played out as a catgory 2 which is cost shared 80% govt and 20% industry. It halted both domestic and international trade, had a huge economic impact and closed both primary and secondary industries down.Unless these categories are reviewed first then the other debate shouldnt start!
    Secondly, the equine community currently has a voice through one peak body only that the Government will recognise to talk to. So racing and tb breeding are equally represented by the AHIC (Aust Horse Industry Council) along with the pleasure community. However, at the same time racing has a voice through its own parliamentary minister. This inequity also needs to be changed so that hidden agendas cannot push a sole peak body in one direction.

    Hence the debate is far more complex than the argument put by the minister during an election year. All this without even beginning to discuss the tax inequities of this scenario and the potential for recreational horse owners to subsidise the business costs of the racing/TB breeding industries whilst not being able to claim the same costs back for themselves.

  • June 18, 2010 at 2:26 am

    The passport system that was brought in 2005 works well in the UK and virtually every horse now has one. I’m fairly sure that a similar system for Australia would work well as long as responsible horse owners get behind and there are serious punishments in place for anyone who abuses it.


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