Microchipping of Horses in Victoria
Animal Welfare. It’s your Duty to Care.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Does the microchipping implantation legislation apply to all animals?
No, the existing legislation for the implantation of microchips in both cats and dogs within Victoria remains the same.
The new legislation specifically applies to the implantation of microchips into horses within Victoria.
Do all horses now have to be microchipped?
No – but if the horse is microchipped after 1st September then the process must be carried out in accordance with the new laws.
Who Can Implant a Microchip?
As of 1st September 2009 only a veterinarian who is an authorised implanter is allowed to microchip a horse in Victoria. An authorised implanter has an approved implanter number. A Registered Veterinarian can apply to be become an Authorised Implanter through the AVA.
I am a veterinarian who has previously implanted horses – can I still microchip horses?
It depends. If you are an authorised implanter (of dogs and cats) with an implanter number with a registry YES. If you do not have an implanter number and have not completed the authorised implanter training for veterinarians NO.
I am a non-veterinarian authorised implanter for dogs and cats – can I microchip horses?
No, currently legislation only allows authorised veterinarians to implant microchips into horses.
I am a non-veterinarian who has previously implanted horses – can I still microchip horses?
No, currently legislation only allows authorised veterinarians to implant microchips into horses.
Why has the Government changed the legislation for horse implanters?
There is a need for veterinarians to be aware of their responsibilities under legislation and understand the importance of following the proper procedure and completing the paperwork to ensure the system works to successfully reunite owners and pets (whether injured or just lost).
How do I become an authorised implanter?
If you are a veterinarian you can apply to the AVA for authorisation. Each person will receive a DVD and assessment questions. The questions are returned to the AVA and they will provide implanter authorisation. Each person has to apply for their own DVD as part of the registration process.
When do the new laws about who can implant a microchip into a horse commence?
The new laws come into effect on 1 September 2009.
What about outside Victoria?
The Victorian Law applies to Victoria. If you are implanting an animal in a neighbouring state (ie. SA/NSW) and the animal comes from Victoria, you need to abide by that State’s legislation. If you are implanting an animal in Victoria, you will need to comply with the Victorian legislation (ie. you will need to become authorised).
Is the site for implantation the same as dogs and cats?
No – A person who implants a microchip into a horse must implant the device into the nuchal ligament on the left side of the neck, midway between the poll and the wither.
Who enforces this section of the Act and Regulations?
The sections on permanent identification will be enforced by authorised officers of the Bureau of Animal Welfare (S71 & 71A officers) rather than Council Authorised Officers.
Do pounds and shelters have to scan horses for microchips?
It is good practice for any shelter or pound presented with a horse to scan to determine whether it is microchipped.
Are there any requirements for scanners?
Yes, any horse scanned for a microchip in Victoria must be scanned using a scanner(s) capable of detecting and reading approved ISO –compliant microchips and the 3 most common old non-ISO microchips.
What type of microchip is able to be implanted into Horses?
As of 1 September 2009 horses may only be implanted with a microchip which;
- Complies with the requirements in AS 5018 – 2001 and AS5019 – 2001
- Contains a unique identification number of which the first 6 digits displayed are the manufacturer’s code of the device issued by the International Committee for Animal Recording.
Can I implant the same microchip as I use for dogs and cats?
Generally yes. The type of microchip approved for dogs and cats is the same standards as that for horses. As long as the microchip is legal for cats and dogs it would be legal for horses (note the site of implantation is not the same).
I have a Horse that was microchipped a few years ago; do I have to have it reimplanted with a new one?
No, it is not compulsory to have a horse re-implanted with a microchip. Should you wish to confirm that your personal details are on a licensed register, or the accuracy of your details, during your next veterinary consultation it would be advisable to have the horse scanned. Once the microchip has been confirmed, you will need to identify which licensed registry the microchip is on and confirm your details. If not on a licensed registry then you will need to complete an application form to register the microchip.
Can people still legally implant old technology/non compliant microchips into a horse in Victoria?
No. It is an offence for an implanter to implant anything other than a microchip which complies with the legislation unless:
- The owner has a written agreement to sell the animal to a person who lives overseas; and
- It complies with the laws of the country where the animal is to live.
Is it a legal requirement to scan a horse prior to implantation?
Yes. Implanters must scan an animal before implantation to confirm it is not already microchipped. Scanning must be done by passing a multi reader closely over the skin of the animal including two sweeps close to the skin along each side of the full length of the neck, along the nuchal ligament.
My horse is microchipped; do I have to put it on a licensed registry?
No – but it is highly recommended for the purposes of re-unification. To place it on a registry call one of the licensed registries for assistance (see list of licensed registries).
As an owner; what costs will I have to pay?
You need to ask your veterinarian how much they will charge for implantation. Your veterinarian is required to inform you of any future charges that may be required through the licensed registry.
Once my details are on the licensed registry do I need to do anything else?
It is most important that should any of your identifying contact details change (address, phone) you inform the registry so that you can be contacted should your horse get displaced. It is also important to inform the registry if the ownership of the horse changes.
What do I do if the animal is already implanted with a microchip and the owner has presented it for microchip implantation?
If an existing microchip is found you may not reimplant the animal unless
- The microchip is not working, or
- The identification number does not uniquely identify the animal, or
- The microchip has migrated out of the scanning region.
If the microchip is functioning correctly implanters must not implant a second microchip. Additionally Implanters have a statutory requirement to notify the registry holding the original information and provide the registry name, address and telephone number of the person who presented the animal.
Registries are legally required to notify the original owner and provide them with the presenting owners name and telephone number or alternatively seek their approval to amend their record by changing ownership.
What do I do if the animal is already implanted with a microchip but the person presenting the animal for implantation is not the owner on the registry records?
If an animal is presented for microchipping, but on scanning is found to already have a microchip implanted, then the authorised veterinary implanter must give the name, address and contact number for the person presenting the animal to the registry on which the existing microchip is listed. The registry must then contact the owner named on the registry and provide the name and contact number of the presenting person to them. Ownership disputes then become a civil or police matter.
Can a microchip be removed?
Yes, by a registered veterinary practitioner but only for therapeutic reasons. When a microchip is removed the veterinarian must make every attempt to notify the appropriate licensed Registry that the microchip has been removed.
Who is responsible for sending the paperwork to the Licensed Animal Registry?
The Authorised implanter must forward the application form containing all required information to a licensed animal registry within 2 days of implantation. They must keep a copy of the completed application form until they have ascertained that the information has been received by the registry and entered onto the database. Application forms CANNOT be given to owners to forward.
What if owners do not have a person they can list as the second contact name?
If owners do not wish to put a second contact on the form then they should clearly state on the form that no second contact person details can be provided, for the registry to note this. The owners need to be aware that the authorities and vets will have no other contact so they could reduce the chance of getting their animal returned safely if it strays or gets injured.
Are there any requirements for Licensed Registries?
Yes, from 1 September any registry accepting data for a horse microchipped in Victoria will need to be licensed and be operating according to conditions set out in the legislation. Implanters must ensure data on new horse’s implanted in Victoria is sent to a licensed Registry.
What if the owner wants the microchip details sent to a horse registry such as a stud book?
The Authorised implanter must inform the owner that the microchip information WILL be sent to a licensed registry, for the purposes of re-unification. The owner is free to approve the implanter to allow specific stud book information to be sent to the other registry as part of the general horse breeding or membership registration.
Who can get access the owners and animal’s details on the Licensed Registry?
The following people can access the information contained on the registry:
- An authorised implanter or an employee of an authorised implanter
- The owner of the animal
- The Secretary of the Department of Primary Industries (DPI) or DPI authorised employee
- An authorised officer
- A council employee employed to administer the Act
- A person approved by the DPI Secretary
- Any person, providing the owner has given their consent, for the purpose of reuniting the owner with the animal
Are there any requirements on the Licensed Registries?
Yes, licensed registries need to be operating according to conditions set out in the legislation. Implanters must ensure that they are only using registries that are licensed.
Who are the Licensed Registries?
As of March 2006 the following registries are licensed to operate in Victoria:
- Australasian Animal Registry
- Central Animal Records
- National Pet Register
- Petsafe Register
An up to date list of licensed registries and contact details is available at www.dpi.vic.gov.au/animalwelfare
Further information can be found at the following sources:
email: firstname.lastname@example.org or
DPI customer service centre on 136186
New Standards for Microchipping of Horses in Victoria
Please note that a new version of the Domestic (Feral and Nuisance) Animals Act 1994 and the supporting Regulations will commence on 1 September 2009. The changes to the Act were introduced in 2007 in the Animals Legislation Amendment (Animal Care) Act 2007 but had a delayed commencement due to the need to develop supporting regulations. The Domestic (Feral and Nuisance) Animals Act 1994 will be renamed the Domestic Animals Act 1994 and the Regulations will be renamed the Domestic Animals Regulations 2005.
The new legislation introduce a number of new provisions and amendment of existing provisions. A summary of the key changes is given below:
- horses are included as a prescribed animal for the purposes of micro-chipping
- only authorised veterinarians can micro-chip horses
- only an approved permanent identification device (micro-chip) can be implanted into a horse (same as dogs and cats)
- prescribes the implantation procedure, including insertion site of the microchip in the horse
- stipulates the information that is required to be obtained by the implanter to aide in the reunification should the animal be displaced from the owner
- information that links the horse owner and the micro-chip data must now be placed on a licensed animal registry to insure reunification
- introduces the requirement to scan a horse if it is found wandering at large (and prior to implantation to insure not already owned by another person)
It is NOT compulsory to micro-chip a horse - but if it is microchipped it must be in accordance with legislation.
The new Regulations and Act, as well as a range of other relevant information, can be downloaded from the following links
www.dpi.vic.gov.au/animalwelfare (follow links to legislation page) or
www.legislation.vic.gov.au click on 'law today' then select statutory rules or Acts beginning with 'D'.
For further information please phone the DPI Customer Service Centre on 136 186 or visit the DPI website www.dpi.vic.gov.au/animalwelfare.