Equine Welfare Strategy

2019 Equine Welfare Strategy

Our Vision


By building legitimacy, credibility and trust, through:

  • Strong Governance;
  • Knowing the facts;
  • Tangible Initiatives;
  • Shared responsibility; and
  • Open and transparent communication.

The 2019 Equine Welfare Strategic Plan is a blueprint for translating equine welfare as a strategic priority to practical steps that can be taken across the industry. The actions are divided into six pillars:

  1. Governance and Standards;
  2. Population Dynamics;
  3. Racing;
  4. Post-racing;
  5. Industry Culture; and
  6. Industry Reputation.

For each pillar there is an overarching objective, ‘end goals’, priority year one (1) projects and years two (2) and three (3) projects. The full plan can be found here.

October 2019 Update:

In October 2019, Racing Victoria announced a $25 million plan dedicated to the welfare of Victorian thoroughbreds with an immediate focus on their post-racing wellbeing. The landmark commitment will fund the first three years of an ongoing program to accelerate and expand RV’s Equine Welfare Strategic Plan, read more here.

Equine Welfare Strategic Plan
The Equine Welfare Strategic Plan is underpinned by the following overarching aims:
  • To be recognised as setting the standard in equine welfare;
  • Build legitimacy, credibility and trust and;
  • To promote the safety and welfare of the racehorse at all stages of the horse’s life.
Governance & Standards

Setting standards, and providing a structure of support and governance that maximises welfare before, during and after racing.

Three years from now we will have:

  • Horse-centric decision making.
  • Efficient Equine Welfare Investigations.
  • Penalties that reflect the serious nature of welfare breaches.
  • Preparedness for ‘Crisis’.
  • Monitored horse husbandry standards at licensed premises.
  • Licensing structure that promotes and rewards good practice.
  • Appropriate jurisdiction and authority to support welfare standards.
  • A definition for ‘good welfare’ before, during and after racing.
Population Dynamics

Effectively monitor population dynamics, identify risk periods for welfare outcomes and implement initiatives to increase visibility.

Three years from now we will have:

  • 100% traceability of birth to training stage of life.
  • A definition for and promotion of responsible, purposeful and ethical breeding.
  • 100% accountability for horses listed as ‘active’, ‘spelling’ and ‘transferred’ in Single National System.
  • Owner accountability for horse’s first transition following retirement from racing.
  • Increased visibility post retirement.
  • An understanding of the role of livestock sales for the thoroughbred population.
  • Responsible ‘End of Life’ management.
  • A map of the whole life journey of the thoroughbred.

Maximising the health and welfare of the thoroughbred during racing by understanding the risks and having processes, resources, facilities, and education that mitigate them.

Three years from now we will have:

  • Research driven practice.
  • An industry wide understanding of Responsible Medication.
  • An improved understanding of training risks.
  • Risk mitigating processes.
  • Racing and training facility policies that support trainers to achieve best welfare outcomes.
  • Skilled and sustainable jump racing population.

Develop a structure and program of initiatives that maximise outcomes for thoroughbreds bred for racing.

Three years from now we will have:

  • A sustainable acknowledged re-trainers program.
  • A support and education program for owners of Off The Track (OTT) horses.
  • A framework of opportunities for non-competitive OTT horses.
  • A framework for thoroughbreds in need.
  • Maximised return on investment of OTT sponsorships.
  • A support and education program for racing owners of retiring racehorses.
  • An OTT Masterbrand supporting a holistic post-racing framework.
  • Identified future funding sources to support post-racing framework and initiatives.
Industry Culture

Empower industry participants to become equine welfare advocates.

Three years from now we will have:

  • Racing Victoria recognised as providing leadership in equine welfare to the industry.
  • An industry wide understanding of participant and stakeholder responsibilities.
  • A holistic approach across breeding, racing and equestrian stakeholders.
  • An effective industry communication strategy and processes.
  • Tools and resources with equine welfare messaging for industry use.
  • Empowered participants.
  • A culture of continuous improvement
Industry Reputation

Demonstrate RV and industry commitment to equine welfare to the wider community.

Three years from now we will have:

  • Open and transparent communication.
  • A platform to communicate equine welfare messaging from.
  • Strong consistent messaging on industry approach to equine welfare.
  • Communication of the good work being done.
  • Identified and prioritised welfare concerns as perceived by the wider public.