NZ Equine Health Association Appoints Executive Advisor

Friday 24 August

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The NZ Equine Health Association (NZEHA) has appointed Dr Patricia Pearce to the position of Executive Advisor on behalf the equine community and industries for the purposes of maximising the health protection and welfare of all horses in New Zealand.  

NZEHA Chairman, Dr Ivan Bridge, confirmed the appointment, stating: “we received applications from a number of strong candidates for the role and we are delighted with the appointment of Dr Pearce.”

“Dr Pearce will represent the NZEHA, liaise with the Ministry for Primary Industries and stakeholders within the equine sectors, draft and implement our policy, and provide critical analysis and reporting to the Committee of the NZEHA.”

“The New Zealand Equine population is more dependent upon biosecurity than any other developed country.  The country’s freedom from pest and diseases is critical for primary productivity and free trade and enjoyment of the recreational and cultural aspects of equestrianism.” 

“Dr Pearce’s extensive understanding of the context of appropriate border controls, disease investigation, and response and welfare legislative processes, as they impact the equine community, will be critical for the protection of equine biosecurity as increasing numbers of tourists arrive and more goods are imported from a greater number of countries.”

Dr Pearce was, until recently, Specialist Advisor for Event Mitigation at the Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry (now Ministry for Primary Industries) in Wellington and, before that, Assistant Director of Event and Emergency Response for the Food Safety Authority for five years. Her roles have also included Programme Manager Compliance for the MAF Biosecurity Authority; National Assessor for the MAF Food Assurance Authority; and Compliance and Investigation Group Veterinary Officer for MAF in Wanganui.

She is a Bachelor of Veterinary Science (BVSc) from Massey University, a Member of the Animal Welfare Chapter of the Australian College of Veterinary Scientists (MACVSc), and has a Masters in Strategic Studies with Merit (MSS) from Victoria University.

She received the Special Achievement Award from Ministers of Agriculture and Conservation for contribution to the welfare of Kaimanawa horses in 1997 and has been widely published including Keeping Exotic Horse Diseases out of New Zealand, co-authored with Dr Brian Goulden, Equine Viral Arteritis (EVA) in New Zealand with Wayne Reid, and Foreign Disease Threats to New Zealand Horses, proceedings from the 2000 Bomac Lecture Series for the New Zealand Equine Research Foundation.

NOTES: 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. The NZEHA has 5 goals:
1. Ensure readiness and response procedures for equine exotic disease emergencies
2. Establish optimal communication and action across equine sectors & government for disease response 
3. Eradicate equine viral arteritis in NZ
4. Facilitate the safe entry and exit of horses in/out of NZ – prevent equine disease incursions
5. Develop & sponsor a code of welfare for horse