Media Release

No silly fillies when it comes to biosecurity

27 October 2014

With the Spring Racing Carnival well underway, 29 international horses have completed mandatory quarantine, in time for the biggest event on the Australian racing calendar and the race that stops the nation; the Melbourne Cup.

Minister for Agriculture, Barnaby Joyce, said horses from as far afield as Ireland, Japan and the United Kingdom have made their way to Australia to race—and met all of Australia's strict biosecurity requirements.

Eighteen of the 29 horses that have cleared quarantine are slated to race in the Melbourne Cup, including Caulfield Cup winner and top-weight, 'Admire Rakti,' of Japan.

"The Melbourne Cup features prominently on the world stage and holds a coveted place on the international racing calendar largely thanks to the participation of quality international horses," Minister Joyce said.

"Celebrity horses are no exception when it comes to the Department of Agriculture's responsibility to keep Australia free from exotic pests and diseases to protect our agricultural industries, economy and environment.

"But we don't just wait to check these animals when they arrive—as a part of Australia's biosecurity continuum, mandatory pre-export quarantine in approved facilities overseas is an equally important part of the process," Minister Joyce said.

"Each horse that enters Australia has already completed 14 days of mandatory quarantine in their country of origin, is inspected and cleared by our biosecurity and veterinary officers, then housed in Werribee International Horse Centre for at least 14 further days of quarantine, observation and testing.

"We've got to make sure none of these international racers pose any risk that could affect domestic horses, or any other competitors in the field."

The Department of Agriculture has import conditions to manage the biosecurity risk posed by imported animals.

"Post entry quarantine is just one part of an integrated system of biosecurity to protect Australia from unwanted pests and disease—including also working offshore and at the border," Minister Joyce said.