Horse traceability

The National Horse Traceability Working Group

The National Horse Traceability Working Group (NHTWG) is a non-statutory committee constituted by the Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting and the Australasian Racing Ministers’ Conference to provide advice on matters relating to the design and introduction of a traceability system 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.

Final Report to Agriculture Ministers Meeting (AMM)

The NHTWG finalised its report and recommendations after considering the diverse range of purposes for which horses are kept in Australia, current biosecurity threats and the cost of various NHTS design options.

The report was tabled at the AMM meeting on 7 December 2022.

Download the final report

The National Horse Traceability Working Group report to AMM  (PDF - 7.6 MB)

The National Horse Traceability Working Group report to AMM  (WORD - 1.1 MB)

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Members of the NHTWG bring to the table a wide range of organisational and community connections.

The Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR) provides secretariat support to the National Horse Traceability Working Group.

The NHWTG is chaired by Mr Stuart McLean, OAM. The following organisations are represented on the Working Group:

  • Animal Health Australia
  • Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment
  • Harness Racing Australia
  • Racing Australia
  • Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals
  • Australian Horse Industry Council
  • Equestrian Australia
  • Each State and Territory Government.

Further information on the NHTWG is available via the Terms of Reference

This report was conducted independently by Marsden Jacob and commissioned by DJPR to assess focusing on the potential role of a horse traceability system in the context of biosecurity.

Frequently asked questions

The National Horse Traceability Working Group has developed a list of commonly asked questions and answers specific to horse traceability in the context of a National Horse Traceability System.

Progress at 16 November 2022

The working group:

  • Has considered the findings of the survey conducted in early 2022 regarding the data collection practices of Australian horse industry organisations and businesses to further understand the opportunities and challenges associated with implementing a National Horse Traceability System (NHTS).  The willingness to pass on information to government agencies in the event of a disease incident was high among both businesses and organisations. The most common potential issues identified by respondents were cost, the additional workload for volunteer organisations, ensuring quality and confidentiality of data, and ensuring that it is only used for the purpose for which it was collected. The most common potential benefits associated with a NHTS listed by respondents were disease management, biosecurity and traceability, and improvements to animal welfare.
  • Considered feedback obtained in response to a recently released public consultation survey in which horse owners, businesses and stakeholder organisations were invited to comment on proposed business rules for a traceability system based on the use of PIC registers and industry-maintained movement records.  As part of this survey, the views of respondents were also sought on the possible introduction of a more advanced microchip-based system. The Working Group has noted stakeholders have a diverse range of views on the merits of the proposed horse traceability system.  Many respondents don’t understand what is being proposed and the logic behind the various elements of the system and few are keen to contribute financially.  There is also apprehension about the possibility of data being accessed and used for other than biosecurity purposes. A key outcome is a considerable communications effort will be needed to inform industry on the requirements of the agreed traceability system. 489 submissions were received.
  • Considered a consultant’s report that quantifies the costs of establishing a base level NHTS employing state/territory Property Identification Code (PIC) registers and industry-maintained movement records, as well as a more advanced microchip-based system supported by a national horse ownership and movement database. The consultant’s findings will be included in the final report to the Agriculture Ministers Meeting (AMM) and will be made available once the Working Group’s final report and recommendations have been considered by the AMM.Discussed options for funding the introduction and operation of a base level NHTS.
  • Has finalised its report to the AMM after considering the diverse range of purposes for which horses are kept in Australia, current biosecurity threats and the cost of various NHTS design options.
  • The final report is expected to be considered by AMM in the coming months.

Consultation: Business Rules for a National Horse Traceability System

The NHTWG has received feedback on proposed Business Rules.

The business rules outline how horse traceability will be achieved across the industry, which industry roles will have specific obligations as part of the system and what movement records and record keeping will be required.

All sectors of the horse industry were invited to provide feedback on the proposed Business Rules.

The four-week consultation period closed on Wednesday 25 May 2022.

The NHTWG will now consider feedback on the proposed Business Rules. Once finalised, the Business Rules will be one component of a suite of recommendations provided by the NHTWG to Agriculture Ministers in mid-2022 for their consideration.

Read the full consultation information

More information

For further information please email: horse.traceability@agriculture.vic.gov.au

Page last updated: 09 Dec 2022