Kim Chance

Kim Chance

Minister for Agriculture and Food; Forestry; the Mid West and Wheatbelt; Great Southern

    Horse industries clear to resume activities today

    29/08/2007 4:08 PM

    Agriculture and Food Minister Kim Chance has announced Western Australia’s horse industries were clear to resume activities from 4pm today.

    “The 15 imported horses from New South Wales, three from Queensland and one from South Australia have now all tested negative to equine influenza,” Mr Chance said.

    “WA is the first State to allow general movement of horses during the national standstill.”

    The Minister said the national Consultative Committee on Emergency Animal Diseases (CCEAD) had agreed that WA had met the criteria to allow the general movement of horses within the State during the national standstill, which remained in place across all other States in Australia until 11am (WST) Friday.

    Mr Chance presented WA’s position to Federal Agriculture Minister Peter McGauran last night to ensure horses could move in WA providing the criteria had been met.

    He said WA would remain vigilant and not take any risks with equine influenza. An importation ban on horses entering WA from other States would remain in place until further notice.

    Horse owners were encouraged to increase their biosecurity awareness and remain alert for any signs of respiratory sickness in their horses. Anyone suspecting a problem should contact their veterinarian for advice.

    “The immediate and potentially devastating impact of equine influenza has highlighted very clearly the importance of appropriate biosecurity measures to prevent the spread of diseases into WA,” the Minister said.

    “The State Government has already recognised the importance of improved preparedness and preparation arrangements for emergency animal diseases.

    “It was the department’s biosecurity, quarantine and emergency response procedures that recorded all horse movements into WA and enabled the immediate tracing and testing of imported horses.

    “As a result, we have been able to demonstrate quickly to the horse industry and CCEAD that WA is free of equine influenza and help the horse industries to move again in the shortest possible time.”

    Mr Chance praised WA’s racing and recreational horse industries, which had worked closely with the Department of Agriculture and Food during the incident and were committed to the long-term biosecurity protection of their sector.

    The Department of Agriculture and Food was developing biosecurity information for travellers entering WA from other States through the border checkpoints at Kununurra and Eucla, as well as the Perth Domestic Airport.

    Anyone travelling to WA from interstate who has had contact with horses should shower and wear clean clothes and footwear before handling horses in WA.

    The State Government committed an extra $2million annually for animal biosecurity initiatives in recent budget allocations to the Department of Agriculture and Food.

    Minister's office - 9213 6700