NSW Farmers is attending a hearing into a federal inquiry on horse traceability this week for a number of important reasons.
Our organisation aims to be at the forefront of important conversations about biosecurity and traceability.
Horses can carry diseases that can be passed onto other animals, and to humans; there is a risk to both livestock industries and human health.
Traceability is a necessity.
Professional livestock industries that focus on production - those who know the trade and market access implications of biosecurity - found that implementing national traceability systems is slow and complex.
That is not to say that a national horse traceability system should not be pursued. It is a worthwhile process that will modernise the way we deal with equine industries.
But government needs to provide policy settings and funding to ensure that we bring everyone into the tent.
This is going to be a slow process that needs long-term vision and bipartisan support.
Our rural research and development corporations and peak livestock industry bodies will be an important source of knowledge regarding traceability systems.
NSW Farmers encourages government agencies and equine industries to engage closely with these bodies to incorporate lessons learned from existing systems.
While governments and industry work together to design the best traceability system possible, we need to focus on education and need to talk about the 'why'.
Nobody likes additional regulation, whether you're a thoroughbred stud or a backyard pony owner.
However, all animal industries should share a common goal to uphold our biosecurity standards, and a national horse traceability system brings us closer to that goal.
- Alexandra Bunton is the NSW Farmers policy director.