The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is highlighting that the currentcatastrophic bushfires in New South Wales and Queensland, plus those earlierthis year in Victoria, reinforce the need for an immediate implementation of anational horse register.

Dr Sam Nugent, President of AVA’s Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA) groupsaid that “efficient, practical and functional radiofrequency identification(RFID) devices and a national horse register would provide traceability toensure that we can easily return horses to their rightful owner following anynatural 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 ensurethat the identity of their horses is secured. Electronic identification ofhorses and the implementation of a national horse register is essential fortraceability, not just in natural disasters, but throughout a horse’s life.Microchips allow operators to identify individual animals by means of a uniqueidentification number. The implanted microchips must conform to AustralianStandard AS 5019-2001, and should an animal change ownership or residence, thesystem can be easily updated to ensure accurate records are on file. Improvedtraceability of all horses is essential to ensure the best possible health andwelfare outcomes for all horses during the course of their lives

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