Aust govt gives $1.1m for horse traceability system

"We wanted to understand why equestrian sport has become more of a classless sport in Sweden than it is in many other countries."
Riders on Forrester Station in Queensland. Photo by Tobias Keller

A kickstart of $1.1 million from the Australian Government is to go towards the establishment of national traceability for all horses.

In announcing the funding, Minister for Agriculture and Northern Australia, David Littleproud said horse traceability would safeguard rural and regional industries and communities and the enviable horse health status on which they rely.

The funding would add to the work of the National Horse Traceability Working Group, which was established in October 2020, with representatives from state, territory and Commonwealth officials, and veterinary, racing, and welfare groups.

“Horses and maintaining their health status are part of the rural social fabric on which Australian agriculture’s continued productivity relies,” Littleproud said.

He said the Australian Government was prepared to do its part, to support the horse industry and state and territory regulators, to kick-start practical traceability arrangements that benefit the horse industry and community.

“Reliable national horse identification and traceability supports good biosecurity, exports, food safety and animal welfare outcomes.

“Establishing appropriate national arrangements will also help to bolster trading partners’ confidence in our arrangements, including animal welfare attributes — and in turn assist access for horse product exports to markets.

“The Australian Government’s funding contribution will support the group to up the tempo on its efforts to resolve recommendations on the form and implementation of national horse traceability arrangements.

Recommendations from the working group for the core purposes of the management of horses during endemic or exotic disease control, and emergency incidents will be shared at the Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting in early 2022.

• Racing Australia has launched a Traceability Platform, which requires that location and owner data is available for broodmares, stallions, foals, unnamed horses, registered racehorses and retired racehorses.

It also allows for owners of retired racehorses to voluntarily provide location and ownership data. Individual horse identification and location traceability is via microchips which are used across the thoroughbred horse population and are integrated into the racing industry’s traceability platform.

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