Many horse owners are developing action plans to keep them and their horses safe during natural disasters like bushfires and floods. But these are not the only dangers from which owners need to protect their horses. Emergency animal diseases like equine influenza and Kunjin virus can spread far and fast with devastating effects.
As with bushfires and floods, the impact of biosecurity hazards is greatly reduced by individual preparation, early warning systems and effective control measures. Communicating information to the right people at the right time requires up to date information. That is precisely why Biosecurity Queensland keeps records of where horses are located and who is responsible for their care.
If you own horses in Queensland, registering with Biosecurity Queensland is not just mandatory but it is also the best way to be kept informed about biosecurity threats. With the release of a new online Biosecurity Entity Registration Portal, now is a great time to check your registration and keep your horses safe.
So, what’s new?
Biosecurity Queensland’s new online Biosecurity Entity Registration Portal is now live. That means you can now register quickly and easily on your computer, iPad or phone. You can use the Portal to register or check if you’re already registered, renew, update your contact details and update details of the number of horses you keep. Before you complete an application to register, you should first check as you may already registered.
What’s all the fuss about?
Pests and diseases can seriously endanger your horse, your local horse community and devastate the horse industry. The equine influenza (EI) outbreak in Queensland and New South Wales in 2007 is a lasting reminder of why it’s so important that owners can be contacted as quickly as possible to notify them of threats to their horses. Biosecurity registration means Biosecurity Queensland can identify who is most at risk and communicate necessary information as fast as possible.
What is biosecurity entity registration?
Biosecurity entity registration provides Biosecurity Queensland with information showing who is responsible for how many horses in which locations. Horses are not considered entities for the purposes of registration. Rather, the term ‘entity’ refers to the individual, partnership, organisation or other entity that owns or keeps at least one horse.
Does biosecurity entity registration apply to me?
It applies to all horse owners or anyone responsible for the day-to-day care of a horse in Queensland. Anyone who held a property identification code (PIC) on 1 July 2016 was automatically registered as a biosecurity entity. Before applying for a new registration you should first check if you’re already registered. Veterinary clinics where horses come for treatment or a visit must also be registered.
Is it just for horses?
Registration applies for owners of all equines – horses, ponies, donkeys, mules and even zebras! And it’s not just horses, owners of livestock, over 100 poultry raised for human consumption, racing pigeons or a beehive must also be registered as a biosecurity entity.
How much information do I have to give about my horses (or zebras!)?
All you need to do is estimate the number of equines at each location and tick some boxes to show if they are part of a production or enterprise. If you’re registered with your current contact details, Biosecurity Queensland will email you when you’re due to update your information about your horses. Visit qld.gov.au/BiosecurityRegistration and follow the simple steps.
What’s in it for me?
In the event of an emergency animal disease that affects horses, Biosecurity Queensland can use the information you provide in your registration to inform you of any threats, monitor and trace their spread and inform you of any movement restrictions that may apply. Biosecurity entity registration adds another layer of control to your risk management activities as a responsible horse owner. The information you provide about how many horses you own and where they are kept is essential for effective control and eradication of diseases threatening your horses.
But I already get information online and through my friends
In the event of a biosecurity threat or event, you will want the most up to date information possible – direct from the horse’s mouth, so to speak. By getting information straight from Biosecurity Queensland you won’t have to worry about getting incorrect, out of date, dangerous or misleading information from other sources.
But I’m a member of a horse society!
Even taken together, horse societies do not cover or represent all horses and horse owners. Furthermore, they are not responsible for informing you of biosecurity hazards. Biosecurity Queensland maintains a centralised record of horse owners and horse properties that enables the right kind of communication to mitigate the impact of biosecurity threats on you, your family and your horses.
Do I need to register if my horses have been vaccinated?
Yes. You cannot vaccinate for every potential virus or disease. Being registered means you will be notified of biosecurity threats. Moreover, if you went to the trouble of vaccinating your horse for a known threat, registration adds another layer of risk control that adds even more value to your efforts.
Will registration put my horses at risk?
Quite the contrary! Biosecurity Queensland has developed the registration system to safeguard horses in the event of a biosecurity threat, and to minimise impact on Queensland’s horse-owning communities.
But I’m just a pleasure rider!
Pests and diseases are a risk for all kinds of horses, even if they never move from their property and new stock is never brought onto their property. Some diseases spread by air or are carried by people or other animals.
But my horses never move!
Some diseases spread far and fast. In 2007, it took 12 months to eradicate equine influenza. At its peak, equine influenza affected more than 8000 properties in Queensland and New South Wales, and horse owners and industry workers were facing dark times with major impacts on their livelihood and lifestyle. This is a good reminder of why it’s so important that Biosecurity Queensland can quickly contact animal owners. In the event of an emergency animal disease that affects horses, Biosecurity Queensland can use the information you provide as part of your entity registration to trace the spread of the disease as well as inform you of the situation and any movement restrictions that may apply.
Do I have to do anything if my horse is kept on someone else’s property (I am an agistee)?
You must register even if you don’t own the land where you keep your horse. This includes if you lease part of someone else’s property and keep your horse there or if you agist your horse on someone else’s land.
What if I have a PIC?
If you were allocated a property identification code (PIC) before 1 July 2016, you may already be registered as a biosecurity entity already.
You can check to see if you are already registered by visiting the new the online portal at qld.gov.au/BiosecurityRegistration. If you are already registered, you can then activate your online portal account and update your contact details. If you were automatically registered, your registration will be valid until 1 July 2019. After that you can renew it easily via the online portal.
Do I still need to register as an entity if the property where I agist my horse already has a PIC?
Yes. As noted above, the term ‘entity’ refers to you as the person responsible for your horses. You can login to the portal at any time to update details of the number of horses you own and where they are located.
What if other people’s horses are kept on my property (I am an agistor)?
You still need to register as a biosecurity entity and make sure your information is up to date.
Is registration free?
There are no fees if you keep animals for non-commercial purposes (i.e. for hobby or leisure activities). If you claim commercial primary producer status on your annual tax return as a result of owning your animals a fee is required every three years.
What do I need to do now?
Visit qld.gov.au/BiosecurityRegistration to check if you’re registered and update your contact details. If you need more information, call 13 25 23 for support or to find your nearest Department of Agriculture and Fisheries office.