More than 70,000 racehorse owners, trainers and jockeys will further their commitment to the Victorian racing industry’s equine welfare strategic plan from New Year’s Day onwards.
From 1 January 2020, 2% of prizemoney on all Victorian races will be allocated to equine welfare initiatives and programs – up from the current 1% contribution introduced in 2017.
After extensive industry consultation, Racing Victoria (RV) launched its three-year equine welfare strategic plan in July 2019 with the aim of providing continuous improvement for racehorses before, during and after racing.
In October, RV announced an expanded and accelerated equine welfare action plan on behalf of the industry in light of high-profile media reporting on the fate of some retired racehorses.
The industry committed to invest a minimum $25 million over the first three years of the accelerated action plan and announced at the time that it would be funded by multiple sources.
The increased industry contribution from 1% to 2% of prizemoney, is being equally supported by an increased investment from RV and contributions from the Industry Sustainability Fund (ISF).
RV Executive General Manager – Integrity Services, Jamie Stier, said: “The Victorian racing industry is committed to an accelerated delivery of its equine welfare strategic plan to ensure the best welfare outcomes for our horses, particularly post-racing.
“All stakeholders in the Victorian racing industry have a responsibility to the horse and the increase in prizemoney contribution, which was announced in October and takes effect from New Year’s Day, is a demonstration of that commitment.
“I want to thank all owners, trainers and jockeys for their support and ongoing efforts to ensure that Victorian racing delivers positive welfare outcomes before, during and after racing.”
Mr Stier added that RV has been working diligently on immediate priorities around resourcing and data collection since the announcement of the accelerated plan in spring.
“We’ve expanded our equine welfare taskforce to deliver the action plan and commenced audits of racing stables and horse sales to validate retirement data and ensure we support the right programs that benefit retired racehorses in need.
“Over the months ahead our equine welfare taskforce will be making announcements about programs and initiatives aimed at furthering the welfare of thoroughbred racehorses, particularly in retirement, and we look forward to sharing those with the community.”
Since its introduction, the prizemoney contribution to equine welfare has funded a broad range of world leading equine health and injury research, welfare-related veterinary services and the Off The Track program.
The increase from 1% to 2% will assist in the delivery of new programs and initiatives to support retired racehorses in need, including a foster program and extended re-homing network.
The 2% contribution to equine welfare will sit alongside an existing 1% contribution from prizemoney to jockey welfare. The contributions are shared equally by owners, trainers and jockeys on each Victorian race.