Influenza: Horse Owners to Create 'Buffer Zones' to Stop Spread

Property owners are being asked to create buffer zones on their land in a bid to stop the spread of equine influenza (EI), the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Primary Industries announced in a statement released today.

NSW deputy chief veterinary officer, Ian Roth, said it was vital to stop horse to horse interactions due to the highly contagious nature of the disease.

"Horses who rub noses or have any other contact over fences between properties can spread EI," Roth said in the statement.

"We're asking owners, particularly those near infected properties, to move horses away from boundary fences," Roth said. "The greater the distance between horses, the better."

Movement restrictions are still in place across NSW and tough penalties apply for anyone breaching these restrictions.

It is prohibited to move any horse, pony or donkey without first obtaining a written permit (granted only in special circumstances). Doing so could lead to a fine of up to $44,000 and up to 12 months imprisonment.

Movement restrictions also apply to equine products, trailers, and trucks within NSW.

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