Be alert to the potential impacts of foot-and-mouth disease in Victorian racing

Issued: 1 December 2022

In recent months foot-and-mouth disease has created headlines around Australia after reported cases of the viral disease in cattle in Indonesia.

The focus of these stories has been the devastating impact foot-and-mouth disease would have if it found its way into Australia’s cloven-hoofed animal industries. This includes two-toed animals such as cows, pigs, sheep and goats.

This doesn’t included horses, as they can’t be infected by foot-and-mouth disease, but they can readily transmit the virus on their feet and other body parts, if they come into contact with an infected animal or areas where an infected animal has been.

Humans are also susceptible to transmitting the virus, even though they can’t contract foot-and-mouth disease. This is often transmitted via a person’s clothing, shoes or their body.

Foot-and-mouth disease can also be transmitted via vehicles that have been in areas where an infected animal has been. During the last foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in the UK, vehicles were found to have been responsible for spreading the virus between properties.

While Australia currently remains free of foot-and-mouth disease and the likelihood of an outbreak is considered low, we must remain vigilant to the devastating impacts the virus could have on all livestock industries – including Victorian thoroughbred racing.

The state and federal governments have invested in preparations for a potential foot-and-mouth disease outbreak.

RV has been advised that in response to a foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Australia a national livestock standstill for susceptible livestock for at least 72 hours would be implemented. Horses are not included in a livestock standstill. However, horses on a property with susceptible animals pose a risk to spreading foot-and-mouth disease and biosecurity practices would be instituted.

What can you do?

  • Avoid contact with susceptible animals where possible
    • Avoid grazing horses where susceptible animals graze or have been kept

  • Maintain good cleaning and disinfection practices
    • “Come Clean, Go Clean”
    • Picking out horses feet
    • Clean footwear and equipment

  • Maintain good records
    • It is critical to have documented evidence that horses have been housed on properties that do not have susceptible species of animals. Government will manage this via the Property Identification Code (PIC) system. Ensure you have a PIC and that it is up to date. Updating your PIC details can be completed on the Agriculture Victoria website.
    • The Governments biosecurity measures to manage a potential foot-and-mouth disease outbreak can be found on the Agriculture Victoria website.

If you have any queries about foot-and-mouth disease and RV’s potential response to an outbreak, please email