We appreciate those in the thoroughbred industry are seeking specific, practical information. We have provided this where possible. As employers have health and safety, employment and contractual responsibilities that vary, in some instances we can only provide broad advice. We will continue to refine this advice where we can.
Our advice from the Ministry for Primary Industries confirms that stud farms, agistment properties, training stables and centres where horses are in containment are listed as essential services under animal welfare considerations.
Broadly, your responsibilities are:
- Ensure you meet your obligations under the HSWA to mitigate health and safety risks and protect their workers from them, so far as is reasonably practicable.
- Develop a plan with your employees for likely scenarios in respect to COVID-19 in your workplace.
- Facilitate, as far as possible, business continuity, thereby ensuring:
- That the welfare of the horses for which you are responsible is not jeopardised.
- Ongoing job security for your workforce.
It is important to support each other and circulate accurate information so we prepare and instigate effective plans to manage the situation as best we can.
By now everyone should have downloaded the COVD-19 tracer app or have some form of accurate contact and travel tracing. More information can be found on the government website by clicking here.
All stud farms should also have QR codes printed and displayed in a prominent position. You can access one here
We understand that there will be concerns about what alert levels will mean for breeders, especially in the breeding season and we will endeavor to keep you as up to date as possible. We are working closely with MPI and other relevant groups to develop action plans so breeders can operate during the breeding season as effectively as possible and in line with any government restrictions.
Travel restriction at Alert Levels 2 & 3 info
Below is some information that maybe useful in regard to mare movement for the approaching breeding season. Our understanding is at Level 2 you can move your mares to stud farms in all regions, apart from the Auckland region under its current Level 3 restrictions. At Level 3 your mares can travel via commercial transporters such as Majestic into or through the Auckland Region. We urge breeders to make early plans for their mares, we will continue to keep you updated as Alert Levels change and we are very aware of the impacts this may have on our approaching season and have emphasised this to MPI and the DIA.
Restrictions around people entering and leaving Auckland city are in place to protect the health of people both inside and outside of Auckland. Some exemptions will be allowed against very limited criteria. Where possible, people should only be travelling within your region or regions that have the same COVID-19 Alert Level.
The NZTA transport page has requirements for travel. See website here for more detail. Suggested documentation for businesses includes a letter from employers stating they are providing a business or service listed in Schedule 3 of the Order, or granted an exemption under section 27 of the Order. They may also carry a business card or work ID.
The movement of people is heavily restricted, but there are exemptions for road freight (including animals being moved as freight e.g. by a livestock transport company or pet transporter).
See here for information about transport of freight. If you need more information about the definition of freight, I would suggest contacting the Ministry of Transport.
Also, for companies where this is relevant (horse transporters, but not individual trainers), see the update here from the Road Transport Forum, noting the documentation needed.
If breeders, trainers, service providers and horse owners must travel between regions with different COVID-19 Alert Levels, we’d suggest that they should first try to make alternative plans or consider if they can adjust their operations, especially while Auckland is at Level 3. For example, you may want to advise people in charge of horses that if they are concerned about the welfare of their animals, they should contact a service provider within their region to provide the necessary treatment in the meantime.
Exemptions have already been provided for specific workers and roles in the dairy and horticulture sectors, as well as a limited number of MPI staff that undertake key regulatory functions. The exemptions will be published on the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) website, here.
The Director-General of Health may provide other exemptions, but you must have an urgent and compelling reason to travel inter-regionally. Individuals may apply directly to the MOH for an exemption. Details on applying for an exemption can be found on the MOH website here.
MPI will not be issuing any letters authorising travel between regions. If you are hearing about specific animal welfare problems as a result of the boundary restrictions, please reply to email@example.com and let us know as soon as possible.
If absolutely necessary individuals can apply for exemptions here but the NZTBA recommend you use a commercial transport provider where possible if mare travel is required between regions under Alert Level 3.
Message from Majestic Horse Floats
Majestic Horse Floats has an MPI Respondent number 11443114828
The announcement by the government on Tuesday 11th August to move Auckland region to level 3 and other regions to level 2 means that we can still operate but it is imperative that we observe the following:
1/ Majestic Horse Floats is an essential nationwide 24/7 transport business. The horses we cart have to get to destinations to receive best care as an animal welfare issue. The service is being completed is contactless. All loading and unloading is completed under our protocols minimising risk of infection.
2/ Majestic Offices across the country have a minimum of 2 metres between office workers.
3/ We are working under government legislation as per back page of this memo
Thanks and regards
CEO Majestic Horse Floats - 0275409259
Bloodstock inspections at L3
Hygiene and protocol measures for Bloodstock Agents and industry licensed professionals entering studs and agistment farms at Level 3
If in doubt please refer to the government website: https://covid19.govt.nz/
The NZTBA recommends at Level 3 that bloodstock inspections are by appointment only and can be conducted by a registered bloodstock agent or HRNZ licenced professional, specific to their area.
Prior to arrival the agents and licensed professionals must arrange a date and time that is suitable to all parties. They must provide their address and contact details plus a clear and detailed inspection list. These are to be texted or emailed to the farm in advance of arrival. Studs or agistment properties reserve the right, in their sole discretion, to grant or refuse access for inspections. Under no circumstances is access to be sort without prior approval.
On arrival at the stud or agistment property, bloodstock agents, licensed professionals and contracted staff are required to maintain strict standards of personal hygiene, strictly follow government social distancing advice and provide details for contact tracing.
Hands must be washed and boots should be disinfected on arrival and departure of a property.
The bloodstock that is to be inspected must be done at a safe distance in an open air parade area.
We encourage persons to carry some form of identification to show who they are, who they work for, and their role to support the authenticity of their travel e.g. business card, letter from their employer or work ID.
Business even if sole operator still have to meet MBIE and WorkSafe guidelines –
Worksafe have also released guidelines on safe practice in the workplace, which you can find here.
An agent must not enter any property if they have cold or flu symptoms, including coughing, sneezing, runny nose, headache, aches or fever, or if they know or suspect that they have been in contact with a person suspected or confirmed as contracting COVID-19, or if they or a close contact has returned to NZ from overseas with the previous 14 days.
Information for Employers
If you’re not sure what assistance may be available or need help understanding the information contact your accountant or call the free government helpline on 0800 779 997 (8am–1am, 7 days a week).
It is normal to feel stressed or anxious in these situations. The thoroughbred industry is known for being a close-knit industry and now is the time to support each other more than ever. Phone your friends, neighbours and family and ask how they are going. Rather than add to the rising panic of the situation talk about practical solutions and support each other where you can safely.
For support with grief, anxiety, distress or mental wellbeing, call or text the free ‘Need to talk?’ service 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on 1737 and talk things through with a trained counsellor.
Support can also be found by contacting any of the following:
Lifeline – 0800 543 354
Youthline – 0800 376 633
Samaritans – 0800 726 666
If you have any concerns about the welfare of horses please contact Alice Riggins at NZTR on 04 576 6266.