NOTICE TO MEMBERS – Racehorse Welfare / National / 20 Mar, 2015

Dear Member

As you are no doubt aware, the recent events surrounding greyhound racing and the live baiting scandal has again brought animal welfare issues into focus surrounding not just the greyhound racing industry, but across all racing codes.

The animal welfare groups have cleverly tapped into community attitudes which are deeply sensitive and highly protective of the accepted principles of animal welfare and the humane treatment of animals. Animal welfare in today’s society is a social issue in the community and the public is becoming increasingly intolerant of the inhumane and maltreatment of animals.

As the thoroughbred racing community is aware, the animal rights activists and welfare groups have intensified their focus on our racing code and have been successful in pursuing some significant rule changes relating to the use of whips, along with their protests and social media campaigns against jumps racing. These efforts will continue and our concerns are that in the current environment and beyond, the focus on welfare issues will be extended beyond these two specific issues.

Whilst there is no doubt that racehorse trainers apply high standards in maintaining the welfare of racehorses under their care, and their genuine affection for horses is indisputable, it is important to recognise that from a welfare perspective, the racing industry and its participants are being scrutinised like never before.

As a matter of course, Trainers should review and ensure that acceptable and safe operational standards and duty of care regimes are maintained and in place in their stables and especially at training tracks.

Members are reminded that for those horses whose racing careers are coming to an end, initiatives for re-homing, re-training and transition opportunities that are available for a wide range of equestrian disciplines, are worthy of consideration. The Principal Racing Authority in your State may be able to assist you with further information in this regard.