Review into Equine Welfare Report
A thorough Canberra Racing Club review into Equine Welfare has concluded with a detailed report now available. The review and report are aligned with a key priority of the Club, namely the continued improvement of Equine Welfare outcomes. The Canberra Racing Club as a Principal Racing Authority is functioning at a high level with respect to its in-training and racing protocols.
Canberra Racing Club Chief Executive Officer Andrew Clark said “Strong equine welfare management is paramount to a prosperous Racing Industry. It is a particular focus for the Canberra Racing Club as we strive to be an Industry leader in the management of Equine Welfare.”
“The successful implementation of the six recommendations contained within this report, which have been endorsed by our Committee, will assist in achieving this objective.”
The Canberra Racing Club has committed to supporting the Thoroughbred through every stage of life. Whilst the length of a horse’s racing career may vary, the measures in place to ensure a quality home for every horse on retirement are consistent.
The club contributes 1% of all prizemoney to be paid into the Equine Welfare Fund administered by Racing NSW. These funds contribute to retraining Thoroughbreds on dedicated farms in New South Wales through Team Thoroughbred.
In formalizing its commitment to a whole of life approach, the Canberra Racing Club has adopted the Minimum Standards and Guidelines of Equine Welfare published by Racing NSW and has introduced Local Rule 114 to ensure that all ACT trained Thoroughbreds find a suitable and quality first home at the conclusion of their racing careers. These rules introduced in 2018 prevent any horse trained at Thoroughbred Park from being sent directly or indirectly to an abattoir or knackery, and prevent a horse from being sold/gifted through an unapproved livestock auction. The rule is listed below.
Local Rule 114
LR 114. The Canberra Racing Club is party to the Racing NSW Equine Welfare Fund and racehorse retirement program.
- The purpose and objective of this Local Rule 114 is to ensure the welfare of thoroughbred horses from birth, during their racing careers and on retirement.
- A registered owner, trainer or any person that is in charge of or has in his or her possession, control or custody of any horses (Eligible Horses, Unnamed Horses and Named Horses) must ensure that any such horses are provided at all times with:
(a) Proper and sufficient nutrition and water;
(b) proper exercise;
(c) stabling and paddocks of a standard approved by Canberra Racing Club, which are adequate in size, which are adequately maintained and kept in a clean and sanitary condition;
(d) veterinary treatment where such treatment is necessary or directed by Canberra Racing Club.
- A registered owner, trainer or any person that is in charge of or has in his or her possession, control or custody of any horses (Eligible Horses, Unnamed Horses and Named Horses) must exercise reasonable care, control and supervision as may be necessary to prevent any such horse from being subject to cruelty or unnecessary pain or suffering.
- A registered owner, trainer or any person that is in charge of or has in his or her possession, control or custody of any horses (Eligible Horses, Unnamed Horses and Named Horses) is not to euthanize or destroy a horse (or permit a horse to be euthanized or destroyed) unless a registered veterinary surgeon has certified in writing that it necessary on welfare or safety grounds or for reasons approved in writing by Canberra Racing Club or unless under extreme circumstances where it is necessary for a horse to be euthanized immediately and the decision is subsequently confirmed by a veterinary surgeon. In the event that a registered veterinary surgeon has certified in writing that it necessary for a horse to be euthanized on welfare or safety grounds or for reasons approved in writing by Canberra Racing Club, then the horse can only be euthanized by a registered veterinary surgeon and is not to be sent to an abattoir or knackery or similarly disposed of. [sub-rule amended 30.9.21]
- Further to AR64JA(1), where a decision has been made to retire a horse, or not to commence racing an Eligible Horse, and that horse has been domiciled in the Australian Capital Territory for the majority of its life:
(a) the Manager, in addition to any forms to be lodged with Racing Australia pursuant to AR64JA(1), is to lodge with Racing Australia the Retirement Notification form, such form to includes details of the retirement option, where that horse will be located and contact details of the new owner (if that horse is being transferred to a new owner);
(b) (i) that horse is not to be transferred to a location which does not meet minimum standards prescribed by Canberra Racing Club to ensure the ongoing welfare of that horse and the owners are required to provide Canberra Racing Club with all information and assistance (including access to the proposed location) in order to enable Canberra Racing Club to assess that those minimums standards are met; [subparagraph re-numbered 30.9.21]
(ii)that horse is not to be transferred, sold or gifted upon retirement or thereafter, to a person who is placed on the Racing NSW Excluded List for rehoming of thoroughbreds. [sub-paragraph added 30.9.21]
(c) the owners are to make all reasonable endeavours to find a home for that horse that meets minimum standards in any of the following options:(i) breeding purposes;
(ii) equestrian, working, pleasure or companion horse;
(iii) any other option approved by Canberra Racing Club
(d) in the event that the owners are unable to find a home for that horse, having used all reasonable endeavours, then the remaining options for that horse are:
(i) an official retirement or retraining program (either operated by Racing NSW or approved by Racing NSW in writing);
(ii) any other option that ensures the ongoing welfare of the horse approved by Canberra Racing Club or Racing NSW in writing;
(iii) the horse is not to be, directly or indirectly, sent to an abattoir, knackery or similarly disposed of;
(iv) the horse is not to be sold/gifted at a livestock auction not approved by Canberra Racing Club or Racing NSW; and
(v) if that horse is in need of veterinary treatment (including ongoing veterinary treatment), it is not to be transferred to a new home until that veterinary treatment has been provided or Canberra Racing Club or Racing NSW is satisfied that it will receive that veterinary treatment.
Report a Welfare Concern
The Canberra Racing Club is committed to ensuring it is operating at the highest possible standards when it comes to Equine Welfare.
The Club employs an Equine Welfare Officer to investigate all in-training injuries occurring at Thoroughbred Park and to assist with continually reviewing and enhancing its current Equine Welfare practices. The Equine Welfare Officer also assists the Workplace Health and Safety Officer with the conduct of regular stable audits to ensure a safe environment for all horses domiciled within Thoroughbred Park.
Canberra Racing Club and Racing NSW Stewards provide oversight of all Thoroughbred racing activities within the Australian Capital Territory. Should any person have a concern with respect to the welfare of a Thoroughbred domiciled in the Australian Capital Territory, they are encouraged to contact the Club on the details below -
Andrew Clark – Chief Executive Officer – Canberra Racing Club
Postal Address: PO BOX 275 Mitchell ACT 2911
Phone: 0400 454 706