Notice to Industry 6: Visitors to the horse compound - biosecurity requirements

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The outcome of this document is for essential visitors to the post arrival quarantine (PAQ) isolation facility for horses to be informed of their biosecurity requirements and their obligation to comply with these requirements. This document excludes horses imported from New Zealand and New Caledonia.

This document is provided for information only. To the extent that this document is inconsistent with any import permit, direction, industry notice or authorisation to enter a quarantine isolation facility, the terms and conditions of the import permit, direction, industry notice or authorisation to enter a quarantine isolation facility take precedence and will apply. Failure to comply with a condition of an import permit, direction, industry notice or authorisation to enter a quarantine isolation facility may constitute an offence.


Each year, hundreds of live horses are imported into Australia. Each consignment may pose a biosecurity risk from animal diseases such as equine influenza (EI), equine viral arteritis, contagious equine metritis, piroplasmosis, surra and Japanese encephalitis. Additionally, the import of horses presents a plant biosecurity risk due to the potential for weed seeds to be present in the air stalls, equipment and animal faeces.

The import of live horses is regulated by the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources (the department). The department has developed conditions for the import of horses to ensure that any potential biosecurity risks can be managed. Strict pre-export and post arrival quarantine requirements apply to imported horses, and all people and goods that come into contact with imported horses.

The primary disease of concern when handling imported horses is EI. This disease can be transmitted via an infected horse, either directly or via people or equipment in contact with an infected horse. The EI virus can be inactivated in a variety of ways, including by using soaps, detergents, acids, alcohols and oxidising agents (such as Virkon).

Any person in close proximity to imported horses in PAQ isolation has the potential to transmit EI virus. Equipment used in the handling and treatment of the horses in PAQ isolation also carries a risk of transmitting EI. The Biosecurity Act 2015 provides biosecurity officers with the authority to give directions to or require a person who may have been exposed to a disease or pest, such as by contact with goods that are subject to biosecurity control (i.e. imported horses and horse equipment), to do certain things. These directions or requirements may include undertaking appropriate decontamination measures.

Personal biosecurity requirements

Visitors to the horse compound are required to:

  • Wear dedicated clothing (including underwear and socks) and footwear in the horse compound. This clothing and footwear must remain in the horse compound.
  • Undertake a complete head to toe, 3 minute shower with soap (including washing hair and cleaning under fingernails).
  • Change into clean clothing (including underwear and socks) and footwear immediately before leaving the horse compound.
  • Refer to the Reference: Personnel – biosecurity requirements (2.11) for more information.

Any personal equipment (e.g. mobile phones, tablets, paperwork, eyeglasses etc) used on site must either:

  • Remain in the horse compound until the end of PAQ isolation OR
  • Be decontaminated prior to leaving the horse compound by wiping down the equipment with alcohol wipes OR
  • For simple jewellery, it may be permitted to enter and leave the horse compound if it can be adequately disinfected.
  • As such, visitors are advised to only take essential equipment in to the horse compound. Visitors must not take unauthorised equipment or personal effects into the compound. Limited secure storage is available in each compound access point for small personal items not needed inside the horse compound.

Biosecurity requirements

Requirements for the horse compound

  • Only visitors authorised by the importer of the horses will be eligible for authorisation from the department to enter the horse compound. The importer will provide the department with the relevant authorisation form for authorisation for their personnel.
  • Non-essential visitors and unauthorised personnel will not be given authorisation by the department to enter the horse compound. Only essential visitors with a genuine reason to enter the horse compound will be given permission by the department.
  • All visitors to the horse compound must be given authorisation by the department to enter.
    • On arrival visitors must read and sign the form: Permission for a veterinarian, farrier or other authorised visitor to enter, leave and take goods into and out of the quarantine isolation facility (3.8b) in the presence of a biosecurity officer.
    • Visitors are required to comply with all requirements outlined in this document.
  • Visitors must complete and sign form: Authorised horse visitors register (3.7) in the presence of a biosecurity officer when entering and exiting the horse compound.

Note: photo identification will be required.

  • Department personnel will escort maintenance staff, contractors and emergency services staff within the horse compound and supervise exit procedures.
  • No equipment may be taken into the horse compound except with the permission of the horse compound manager (or delegate).
  •  All equipment used in the feeding, handling and treatment of the horses in the horse compound must be new, or cleaned and disinfected before use.
  • Equipment must be used only in the dedicated horse compound for the duration of the PAQ isolation unless otherwise approved by the department.
  • All equipment must be disinfected to the satisfaction of the department prior to removal from the horse compound.
  • Health records for each horse are held on the clipboard at a designated area within the horse compound.
    • Any abnormalities in the health of the horse, diagnosis or treatments implemented must be detailed on form: Horse’s health observation record (3.15).
    • Any health problems affecting horses or other stock in the quarantine isolation facility during PAQ isolation must be promptly reported to the supervising department veterinary officer or horse compound manager (or delegate).
  • All personnel entering the horse compound must report any breach or suspected breach of biosecurity procedures (by them or any other person) to the horse compound manager (or delegate).

Related material

Reference: Emergency contact information – horses (4.2)

Document information

The following table contains administrative metadata.

Instructional material owner:

Director, Horses, Livestock and Bird Imports Program

IML document ID:


Freedom of information exemption:


TRIM container number:


Review date:

June 2019

Version history

The following table details the published date and amendment details for this document.



Amendment details



To inform visitors to the PAQ of their biosecurity requirements – incorporates comments from AQIS regions, the HICC and information from the December 2007 SOP.



Updated to incorporate advice from AQIS regions at October meeting and legal advice.



Amended following meeting 13 May 2009.



Updated on new template; updated for new quarantine facility.

5.016/6/2016Updates to comply with the Biosecurity Act 2015
Last reviewed: 4 November 2019
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