The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is highlighting that the current catastrophic bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland, plus those earlier this year in Victoria, reinforce the need for an immediate implementation of a national horse register.
Dr Sam Nugent, President of AVA’s Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA) group said that “efficient, practical and functional radiofrequency identification (RFID) devices and a national horse register would provide traceability to ensure that we can easily return horses to their rightful owner following any natural disaster”.
“If we review the evidence from the extreme bushfires in Victoria this year, we found that tracing the owners of horses which were found after the event, sometimes injured and in need of treatment, was extremely difficult”, he said. In the wake of recent events, the EVA urges all horse owners to act to ensure that the identity of their horses is secured.
Electronic identification of horses and the implementation of a national horse register is essential for traceability, not just in natural disasters, but throughout a horse’s life. Microchips allow operators to identify individual animals by means of a unique identification number. The implanted microchips must conform to Australian Standard AS 5019-2001, and should an animal change ownership or residence, the system can be easily updated to ensure accurate records are on file. Improved traceability of all horses is essential to ensure the best possible health and welfare outcomes for all horses during the course of their lives.