Equine Welfare Strategy

A love for the horse is something that emanates deep within all participants of the thoroughbred racing industry. From Phar Lap to Carbine, Makybe Diva and Black Caviar – racing’s true heroes have always been horses.

They are the centrepiece of our industry, and Racing Victoria is committed to ensuring that they’re afforded appropriate care and attention before, during and after their careers on the racetrack.
Racing Victoria’s vision is to be a leader in equine welfare and build a racing culture in which the safety and welfare of the racehorse is paramount to all participants and owners.

Racing Victoria is implementing an Equine Welfare Strategic Plan following an extensive consultation process with industry stakeholders and external experts to best understand and address the key issues relating to equine welfare.

Equine welfare best practice is an evolving journey, and this strategy builds on the work of those in racing over the past decade and beyond. The strategy will serve to guide us into the future, setting clear priorities and objectives.
Equine Welfare Strategic Plan
The Equine Welfare Strategic Plan is underpinned by the following overarching aims:
  • Consolidate and advance knowledge, policies, guidelines and practices where there is scope to improve outcomes for horses
  • Work with other organisations within racing and beyond, to share knowledge and improve practices in other jurisdictions or equine pursuits
  • Development and implement programs and initiatives that advance welfare outcomes for racehorses before during and after racing.
  • Position the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry as a leader in equine welfare in Australia
Click here to view Racing Victoria’s Equine Welfare Strategy
Click here to view 'Victorian Thoroughbred Racing The Facts'
Equine Welfare Strategy - Before Racing
Racing Victoria is committed to greater traceability of all thoroughbreds. To support this the following key initiatives are outlined in our Equine Welfare Strategy:

1. Following the introduction of a compulsory registration rule in August 2016, Racing Victoria is working with Racing Australia to achieve national reforms that enable greater traceability of all thoroughbreds from birth to gain a better understanding of their lifecycle. Racing Victoria is committed to understanding what happens to 100% of the foals born in any year in Victoria. To support this, Racing Victoria will audit a minimum of 25 per cent of the foals born in Victoria to ensure compliance with all rules relating to traceability, ownership and welfare.

2. Having recently completed a study on the life cycle of foals born in Victoria in 2005, Racing Victoria has now commissioned further studies on the life cycle of foals born in 2010 and 2015. These projects provide valuable information on the life cycle of thoroughbred foals to benchmark against future data.
Equine Welfare Strategy - During Racing
Racing Victoria is committed to reducing the instances of catastrophic limb injuries. To support this the following key initiatives are outlined in our Equine Welfare Strategy:

1. Racing Victoria is partnering with the Victorian Government and the University of Melbourne in a newly launched $5.25 million research project aimed at the early detection and prevention of bone injuries in thoroughbred racehorses. The research project – the biggest investment of its kind into equine welfare research in Australia – will conclude in 2019 with the findings to help inform trainers of best practice for catastrophic limb injury prevention. Through the research, Racing Victoria aims to reduce the rate of raceday fatalities in flat racing from an average 0.051 per cent of starters per season towards 0.00 per cent.

2. A compulsory online veterinary record system will be introduced for trainers and their veterinary teams which will allow Racing Victoria to monitor all veterinary records for integrity and welfare purposes to ensure that all treatments are recorded transparently.
Equine Welfare Strategy - After Racing
Racing Victoria believes there’s a home for every healthy thoroughbred. To support this the following key initiatives are outlined in our Equine Welfare Strategy:

1. Expand Racing Victoria’s successful Off the Track program, which promotes the adaptability and versatility of the thoroughbred to the equestrian and pleasure industry and helps facilitate the placement of retired racehorses into post-racing careers. Racing Victoria believes there’s a home for every healthy thoroughbred and over the next 12 months, aims to grow its network of acknowledged retrainers in Victoria from 40 to 60 expanding the range of disciplines available for retired racehorses.

2. Develop strategic partnerships with key equine and equestrian bodies in Victoria, including Equestrian Victoria, that assist with post-racing careers for healthy retired racehorses.