Queensland Easing Some Equine Movement Restrictions

Queensland biosecurity officials will now allow some equine movement within equine influenza infection zones, as the state's efforts to eradicate the virus are weighed against the impact of movement bans on the equine industry.

Some movement by trailer and "on the hoof" movements within local areas are now allowed in the horse flu red zone under special conditions.

Allison Crook, BVSc MACVSc, chief inspector of stock, said horse owners could now walk horses off a property without a permit as long as several conditions were met.

"On-hoof movement of horses can only be done during daylight hours and they must be returned to the property of origin the same day," Crook said. "Horses cannot be moved if they are sick, and must not be taken from, or to, an infected or suspect property.

"The on-hoof movement will allow local movement of horses where, for example, an owner wants to ride to a local showgrounds or pony club grounds to exercise or train a horse," Crook explained.

Overnight or weekend stays at a destination premises still required a permit from the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries (DPIF).

The DPIF has also introduced two new permit types to assist horse owners with regular normal movements between specified destinations and the home property.

These permits are for equine movement via trailer within local areas of the red zone only, and horses must be returned to the property of origin by midnight the same day commencing the movement. Special movement conditions are listed on the DPIF Web site.

Crook said DPIF inspectors will ascertain the eligibility of the nominated destinations in assessing the permit application.

"As a rough guide, movement within metropolitan and fringing areas may be restricted to local suburbs or local districts," Crook said. "In rural areas, movements may be restricted to local districts or local shires.

"This is not a hard and fast rule and will be subject to the inspector's assessment of the application and an assessment of the biosecurity risk," Crook explained.

Crook said that movement from the red into the other control zones are generally not allowed, however, strict quarantine and event protocols are in place that could allow this to occur with the correct approvals.

DPIF Chief Veterinary Officer Ron Glanville said the easing of movement restrictions was an acknowledgement of progress that has been achieved with the disease eradication program.

"This has been due to the horse community's compliance with movement restrictions and good biosecurity measures since the start of the outbreak in August last year," Glanville said. "We know that this easing of movement restrictions may reveal some hidden pockets of infection in some areas. We have containment and suppression vaccination plans in place depending on the severity and location of any new outbreak that may result.

"Good biosecurity and decontamination are still essential," Glanville noted. "Horse owners must not move sick horses, or allow them to come in contact with other horses."

More information about the new on-hoof and multi-movement permit system is available at www.dpi.qld.gov.  

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners