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Traceability working group's final report tabled

ABOVE: The group's final report was tabled on December 7.

THE National Horse Traceability Working Group’s final report has been released.

The group is a non-statutory committee established in 2020 to provide advice on matters relating to the design and introduction of a traceability system with a biosecurity focus for horses, donkeys and mules in Australia.

The NHTWG has met regularly as required with the aim of providing recommendations for the implementation of a national horse traceability system via the Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting in the coming months.

Four options for implementing horse traceability were identified through a dedicated review project undertaken by Marsden Jacobs Associates on behalf of the Victorian Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions, and provided to the group for consideration.

The group’s recommendations are:

1. Australia’s NHTS should at its core address biosecurity threats and utilise the current property registration and PIC systems administered by the jurisdictions.

2. Industry participants be required to generate and maintain horse movement records. These records should be readily accessible to government agencies for use during biosecurity incidents and emergencies.

3. Subject to an agreement on funding (see recommendation 7), jurisdictions be asked to enact legislation by no later than 1 January 2025 that will support nationally consistent business rules relating to the operation of the NHTS (see Appendix A).

4. Industry be asked to commit to working cooperatively with government to introduce, support and utilise the system.

5. Existing commercial and industry managed microchip registers be encouraged to record PIC details for the locations where horses reside when horses are initially registered, microchipped, change ownership, are exported or are reported as deceased.

6. Commercial and industry horse identification and movement registers be encouraged to authorise as part of their Terms of Use conditions that allow the release of data to government agencies for use during biosecurity incidents and emergencies.

7. AMM appoint an industry led National Horse Traceability Implementation Taskforce (NHTIT) to:

a) recommend within 12 months of AMM agreement in principle to proceed, a mechanism for generating the funding needed for system implementation and maintenance, in particular covering costs associated with communications, monitoring and enforcement;

b) develop a cost guide to inform and secure outcome-based funding to enable implementation;

c) oversee the introduction of the preferred NHTS (Option 2) within agreed timelines;

d) agree on KPIs against which the performance of the NHTS can be assessed in the future;

e) develop a communications plan to be delivered by government and industry organisations outlining to horse industry participants their NHTS related obligations and the benefits of the system;

f) through an independent review, explore opportunities for greater database integration and electronic movement record collection and storage including leveraging existing industry sector databases and the possibility of adopting Universal Equine Life Number (UELN) standards;

g) encourage and support industry sectors that choose to implement enhanced versions of the NHTS that have broader objectives such as welfare, emergency response management, rider safety and the integrity of trade in horses

h) within five years after its commencement, engage an independent consultant to review the NHTS for the purpose of:

  • assessing its effectiveness at tracing horses for biosecurity purposes against agreed performance standards (as listed in the business rules - see Appendix A)

  • advising AMM on the benefits, feasibility, cost and a funding model to support the introduction of a microchip-based traceability system for all horses incorporating a national horse database and movement register, and covering associated start-up costs and ongoing communications, monitoring and enforcement activities

  • considering the appropriateness of accommodating broader industry objectives potentially relating to animal welfare, emergency response management and the integrity of trade in horses, as part of the NHTS, and

  • proposing appropriate amendments to the NHTS business rules to enhance the system’s performance.

8. Approve the composition of the NHTIT as an industry-led taskforce with Commonwealth and jurisdictional representation.

Download the full report below

NHTWG final report
Download PDF • 8.02MB

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