By: Racing.Com Staff
Racing Victoria has announced it will spend more than $2.5 million annually on a new Equine Welfare Strategy, a formal commitment to the welfare of thoroughbred racehorses before, during and after racing.
RV’s vision is to be recognised as a leader in equine welfare and to build a racing culture in which the safety and wellbeing of the racehorse is paramount to all participants and owners.
“Racing Victoria will invest over $2.5 million annually on raceday veterinary care, welfare compliance, research and our Off the Track retirement program,” said RV CEO Bernard Saundry.
“The welfare of the thoroughbred remains central to the successful conduct of our sport.
“Our Equine Welfare Strategy was developed following an extensive consultation process with industry stakeholders and external experts and builds upon the valuable work of those in racing over the past decade in delivering improved welfare outcomes for thoroughbreds.
“The initiatives outlined in the Strategy focus on further improving the welfare outcomes for thoroughbred racehorses before, during and after their racing careers.
“We have identified 10 key initiatives among a series of broader aims that we believe are in the best interests of our thoroughbreds and the long-term success of the industry.
“We are striving for greater traceability before racing and investing heavily in research in the hope of reducing injuries and fatal accidents during racing.
“We believe there’s a home for every healthy thoroughbred after racing and we’re expanding our Off the Track program to assist this.
“The horse is the centrepiece of our industry and this Strategy is an industry-wide commitment that aims to ensure every thoroughbred racehorse in Victoria is afforded the appropriate level of care and welfare by participants and owners.”
Australian Trainers’ Association (ATA) Chief Executive, Andrew Nichol, said: “The ATA commends Racing Victoria for this initiative, which unequivocally demonstrates its commitment to equine welfare.
“The welfare of the racehorse has always been a priority for trainers.
“Accordingly, it is both pleasing and reassuring that this program will allow the community to understand and experience the Victorian racing industry’s collective approach to a long-term, comprehensive investment into the wellbeing program for our equine counterparts.”
Thoroughbred Racehorse Owners’ Association (TROA) Chairman, Jonathon Munz, said: “Owners invest over $300 million in Victoria each year on the welfare and training of their racehorses and are committed to providing them with the best possible care.
“As an industry we must continue to put the practical welfare of the horse at the forefront of our decision making. TROA will continue to seek to provide valuable and sensible input to Racing Victoria in this area.”
Thoroughbred Breeders Victoria (TBV) President, James O’Brien, said:”Breeders are passionate about the care of their horses and are committed to upholding the highest standards of welfare.
“Racing Victoria’s strategy and recent rule changes will greatly contribute to supporting breeders in this important objective.”
Victorian Jockeys’ Association (VJA) Chairman, Stephen Baster, said: “I speak on behalf of all Victorian jockeys in thoroughly endorsing Racing Victoria’s strong commitment to equine welfare, not just in relation to raceday care, but throughout the entire life of the horse, before, during and after racing.”