Communique three

Logo for National Horse Traceability Working Group

3 July 2021

The National Horse Traceability Working Group (NHTWG) met at the Agriculture Victoria office in Attwood, Victoria on 22 April 2021 and 19 May 2021. The Working Group has now met four times.

The Attwood meetings were face-to-face, providing an excellent opportunity for the group to confirm the focus and the aim in developing recommendations for a national horse traceability system.

In progressing several key areas of discussion, the Working Group agreed on the following purpose statement:

To recommend principles of Australia’s horse traceability system for the core purposes of the management of horses during endemic or exotic disease control, and emergency incidents.

The working group agreed that although ultimately the development of a broader horse traceability system was desirable, there needed to be a base level starting point that provides the platform to move in time to greater functionality. The working group discussed a phased approach in this context.

One of the key principles of traceability is having a unique land identifier (geospatial address point) for properties where horses are held.  As part of State and Territory legislation Property Identification Codes (PICs) have for over a decade been required for land where horses are kept. PICs align the property location with the contact details of the property owner, and horse carer or manager.

The PIC system enables the location of nearby properties on which susceptible species also reside to be quickly identified during a disease outbreak.  PICs also enable the movement of horses between locations to be recorded, facilitating prompt traceback and contact tracking should the need arise.

To ensure timely and efficient communications from both government and industry, all horse owners, managers, or carers should ensure that they have an up-to-date PIC for the property on which their horses are located.

The Working Group agreed to prepare data standards and principles that once adopted will enable data about horses and horse movements to be more freely accessed and shared. A subgroup will progress this important work.

The Racing Australia member, Karen Day, General Manager of Equine Welfare and Traceability provided an excellent demonstration of the newly developed and recently launched Racing Australia Traceability Platform. Racing Australia has introduced new requirements that ensure location and owner data is available for broodmares, stallions, foals, unnamed horses, registered racehorses and retired racehorses. The database not only requires people involved in the racing industry to ensure real-time location data for horses is accurate but also allows for owners of retired racehorses to voluntarily provide location and ownership data. Individual horse identification and location traceability is via microchips which are utilised across the thoroughbred horse population and is integrated into the racing industry’s traceability platform.

Visit the Racing Australia website for further information.

The working group will next meet mid July 2021.

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