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Whole-of-life welfare commitment

RCareersOur community (in partnership with Racing Australia and other state PRAs) is built around, and cannot function without, a shared passion for the horse. From the time thoroughbreds are foaled, throughout their racing careers and transition to life beyond, Thorough Care SA maintains a strong commitment to leading equine welfare practices.

Bound by this common principle, Racing SA and Racing Australia have put in place a series of initiatives to guide us into the future and outline the expectations and standards for all members of our community to live this whole-of-life welfare commitment – because the horse is at the heart of everything we do.

Before racing

The life of a thoroughbred racehorse starts well before it ever sees its first track. In fact, measures are in place to ensure that every horse born of a thoroughbred is identified and registered.

The Australian Rules of Racing and the Stud Book Rules ensure traceability of thoroughbreds from the first few weeks of life. Foals must be registered with the Stud Book within 30 days of foaling, and each foal’s owner must be declared with the Registrar within a further 30 days.

Thorough Care SA works with Racing Australia to monitor compliance with these standards and to use the data to learn more about the lifecycle of thoroughbreds.

During racing

The integrity of thoroughbred racing in South Australia is overseen by Racing SA Stewards and one of their primary responsibilities is participant welfare. In fact, our investment in integrity matters increased by more than $250,000 in FY17.

Racing SA stewards monitor activities both on and off the racecourse, and in and out of competition, to ensure established equine welfare protocols are met or surpassed.

These activities include, but are not limited to:

  • Chair Race Meetings
  •  Integrity Management
  •  Betting Services
  •  Form Analysis
  •  Investigations
  •  Stewards’ Operations
  •  Conduct Barrier Trials
  •  Raceday Administration and Licensing
  •  Attend Trackwork
  •  Conduct Stable Inspections

Further detail about the activities undertaken by Racing SA Stewards to ensure equine welfare best practice, can be found here

After racing

In line with the Rules of Racing set out by Racing Australia, Thorough Care SA requires a Retirement of Racehorses or Death Notification Form to be lodged in the event of the death or retirement of a thoroughbred racehorse. The procedure for doing so is set out below:

  • As of 1st August 2014, the Rules of Racing (AR64J and AR64JA) make it compulsory for notification to be lodged upon the retirement or death of a racehorse.
  • A ‘Retirement of Racehorse or Death Notification Form’ must be lodged with Racing Australia within one month of a horse retiring from racing.
  •  It is the Managing Owner’s responsibility to ensure this form is completed and forwarded to Racing Australia.
  •  Trainers are reminded of their duty to also lodge a stable return within 24 hours of a horse entering or leaving their stable.
  •  Failure to comply with the provisions of this rule may result in penalties.
  •  Forms can be found on the Racing Australia website.

Thorough Care SA has an active retired racehorse program and has invested in building relationships and goodwill with key equine stakeholders to stimulate demand for retired thoroughbreds through several key initiatives and partnerships.

Presently, 65% of thoroughbreds retire into equestrian and pleasure riding activities reinforcing the importance Thorough Care SA places on maintaining and further developing its relationship with a key stakeholder in its whole-of-life welfare commitment. A further 23% go into the breeding industry.

The investment and relationship building has provided benefit in improving the perception of racing within the equestrian community. Thorough Care SA also collaborates with organisations running equine events, promoting and encouraging the participation of retired thoroughbreds in show and pleasure riding activities.