Communique five

Logo for National Horse Traceability Working Group

14 February 2021

The National Horse Traceability Working Group (NHTWG) met on 13 December 2021 and 8 February 2022 to consider further how a National Horse Traceability System (NHTS) should operate. The Working Group agreed that to achieve adequate traceability to address biosecurity challenges, the system should include the following key elements

  1. adoption of the Property Identification Code (PIC) system administered by the states/territories. PIC registers contain information on the location of properties, the species present and contact details for the person who is responsible for livestock including horses on a property
  2. where required by racing or equestrian authorities, or used on a voluntary basis by owners, the use in a standardised manner of implanted microchips (transponders) to permanently identify animals
  3. movement recording obligations for movements that are high-risk from a biosecurity perspective
  4. utilisation of existing industry managed secure databases that register horses along with their owners, descriptions, brands and markings, and where applicable their transponder (microchips) numbers
  5. endorsement of agreed business rules supported by enabling state/territory legislation
  6. an ongoing program to educate horse industry participants about their responsibilities
  7. documented arrangements for compliance monitoring, enforcement, evaluation, and periodic review, and
  8. the development and use of tools that will allow authorities to quickly access relevant data on registers and databases in order to determine the history and whereabouts of individual horses, or groups of horses and their companions, specifically for biosecurity purposes.

The Working Group is progressing a draft set of business rules outlining industry participant obligations relating to property registration, how microchips where used are to be applied, movement recording requirements and associated data management.

The draft business rules will apply to all horses, donkeys and mules (referred to collectively as horses) and once finalised will be one component of a suite of recommendations provided by NHTWG to Agriculture Ministers (AMM) in mid-2022 for endorsement.

Following a biosecurity incident, the expected outcome associated with the implementation and operation of the system described in the business rules is to enable:

  • horses of interest to be traceable within 24 hours back to properties (PICs) on which they have resided or visited (traceback), and
  • horses co-residing with or that have been in contact with horses of interest to be located within 24 hours (contact tracing).

The Working Group previously agreed that although ultimately the development of a NHTS incorporating greater complexity may be desirable, there needed to be a base level starting point that provides the platform to move in time to such a system.

The Working Group will next consider responses to a questionnaire sent to horse industry organisations and businesses seeking their views on the possible introduction of a NHTS. Responses will assist the Working Group to determine how best to use, and build on, existing industry horse identification and data management arrangements.

The Working Group will next meet in March 2022 to continue work on its report to Agriculture Ministers (AMM).

For further information or any enquiries, please email

Stuart McLean

Chair, National Horse Traceability Working Group

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Page last updated: 06 May 2024