Equine Welfare Strategy

In July 2019, Racing Victoria released the industry’s three-year Equine Welfare Strategic Plan after consultation with stakeholders and animal welfare and care groups. This was accelerated and expanded in October 2019, with a minimum $25 million commitment (read more here) to fast track the action plans priority projects, focusing on the post-racing care of retired racehorses.

At the core of the post-racing framework is the development of pathways which meet the needs of every retired thoroughbred, no matter their circumstances.

To help deliver the programs and projects that underpin the action plan, a dedicated in-house equine welfare taskforce has been formed. The equine welfare team works closely with our veterinarian services and broader Integrity Department to deliver positive outcomes for all Victorian racehorses.

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.

Click here to view and download the Equine Welfare Strategic Plan.

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.
 
Racing

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.
Post-Racing

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.