Equine Industries Sign Biosecurity Agreement with Government

Monday 26 January

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Equine industries announced today an agreement has been signed with Government aimed at maximising the health protection and welfare of all horses in New Zealand.

The New Zealand Equine Health Association’s (NZEHA) Chairman, Dr Ivan Bridge, confirmed at New Zealand Bloodstock’s Premier Sale at Karaka this morning that the Government-Industry Agreement (GIA) Deed had been signed on behalf of the equine community and industries, only the fourth primary industry (after Pork, Kiwifruit and Pipfruit) to do so.

The signing of the GIA Deed formalises a partnership between the NZEHA, representing all equine interests, and Government to improve equine biosecurity readiness and response. All equine interests will now have a direct say in managing biosecurity risk.


Dr Ivan Bridge stated in a speech at the Karaka Sales Pavilion today: “We see this as common sense. Biosecurity is a shared responsibility, and it needs everyone to be on board. We are currently working with the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) and industry groups to ensure we continue to have cogent and forcible response processes in place for high-risk diseases.”


“The importance of protecting our industry from disease incursions cannot be overstated. If, for example, Equine Influenza was verified in New Zealand in all likelihood all movement of horses, including racing, horse shows, pony clubs and much more, would be halted. Were this to occur midway through the year, it is probable all breeding would shut down. The cost would certainly run into tens of millions of dollars and potentially much more.”

“New Zealand is now the only country in the world with a significant equine population where EI has never occurred. Thus, we have a country of horses that are referred to as being immunologically naive to EI, meaning there will be no natural resistance to the disease in the country’s equine population causing it to spread very quickly. The lengthy recovery time will create huge disruption to all equine-related sports.”

“The Callinan Inquiry into the Equine Influenza outbreak in Australia in 2007 quoted approximately A$108 million in costs to the industry making it the most costly emergency animal disease response in Australia’s history.”


  1. There are approximately 120,000 horses in New Zealand. Equine industries contribute more than $1.6 billion annually to the New Zealand economy (over 1% of New Zealand’s Gross Domestic Product). In economic terms, the New Zealand Equine Racing Industry is comparable in size to the Wine Industry and the Seafood Industry.
  2. The NZEHA was constituted in 1997, mandated by Government, to provide Government with a single equine representative body to consult with on issues such as equine diseases, health and welfare.

Issued by Simon Cooper, New Zealand Equine Health Association

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