NSW Horse Owners Urged to Take Part in Biosecurity Efforts

New South Wales (NSW), Australia, horse owners are being encouraged to get behind new traceability measures to improve NSW’s capacity to respond to animal disease outbreaks, according to a July 9 statement from the state's Department of Primary Industries.

From September last year, any owners of land on which horses and other livestock are kept are required to obtain a property identification code (PIC) from the Livestock Health and Pest Authority (LHPA). NSW DPI Director of Biosecurity Operations Barry Kay has thanked the 5,035 property owners that have obtained a PIC since the new measures were introduced.

“The new traceability requirements are part of biosecurity efforts aimed at improving NSW’s capacity to respond to animal disease outbreaks,” Kay said. “Knowing where horses are located as well as contact details for the owner improves our ability to effectively respond to future animal disease outbreaks or other emergencies.

“Not having this type of information hampered our efforts to control an outbreak of equine influenza back in 2007," he continued. “By working with the horse industry to introduce this new traceability measure we are now better prepared for future disease outbreaks. The introduction of a PIC system for horse properties also brings NSW into line with Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory which already have this requirement."

LHPA senior district veterinarian, Dr. Matthew Ball, said PICs can be obtained from your local LHPA. “Even if you only have one horse, you still need to know the PIC of the land the horse is kept on,” Ball said.

“Current horse diseases such as hendra virus and past experiences with controlling equine influenza demonstrate there is a need for horses to be able to be traced easily in emergencies," he continued. "Linking your horse to your land by a PIC is the way this is done.”

Ball added the introduction of PICs for horse properties did not mean horses would be subject to any requirements of the National Livestock Identification Scheme

In addition to horses, a PIC is now required for the land on which livestock are kept, including one or more sheep, cattle, goats, pigs, deer, bison, buffalo, camels, donkeys, IIama, alpaca, or 100 or more poultry birds, regardless of whether they are trading or moving animals.

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