Thoroughbred Breeders Australia (TBA) has launched a national programme to prioritise and promote the welfare of thoroughbreds.
The landmark initiative will see the national peak body and all state breeding associations adopt a set of agreed guidelines, as well as the appointment of welfare officers in every state.
The guidelines, which outline the fundamental principles for the care of thoroughbred breeding stock, are believed to be the first such protocols adopted by a national breeding body anywhere in the world.
TBA president Basil Nolan said: “We already have a very high standard of care for our horses in the breeding industry, but I believe it is important for the TBA to highlight the message that welfare needs to be at the heart of what we do.
“We are fortunate that Australia has the second largest breeding industry in the world, but we always need to look to ways to protect our future and I believe this initiative assists in that aim.”
The guidelines state:
1. Horses should be provided with appropriate amounts of food and have access to quality drinking water.
2. Handling should accommodate the horse’s behaviour and should be done in a calm manner.
3. Horses should not be forced into positions or situations that cause unnecessary pain, harm or injury and no horse should be abused.
4. Horses should not be subjected to submissive techniques that injure or harm.
5. Sick and injured horses should be given appropriate care and medical attention in a timely manner in keeping with best practice. Where necessary, veterinary advice should be sought.
The guidelines will be reinforced by the engagement of welfare officers in each state and a dedicated 1300 telephone number for people to contact if they have concerns regarding the welfare of a thoroughbred.
The officers, who will work on a part-time basis, will be tasked with advocating on welfare, being a point of contact for people with concerns about the treatment of breeding stock, liaising with other relevant stakeholders about thoroughbred care and organising industry assistance when needed.
TBA chief executive Tom Reilly said: “We consider that experienced people from within the thoroughbred industry, whether they’re former farm managers or veterinarians, will want to pass on their experience and advocate on this issue as welfare officers.
“As the peak body in the breeding industry it’s important we take a leadership role and make clear the standards that are expected of all participants.”
People should contact 1300 TBA WELFARE (1300 822 935 3273) if they have any concerns about a thoroughbred breeding stock.
The welfare initiative was agreed at a TBA board meeting last week having already been ratified by the state associations. TBA is the parent company of the six state breeders’ associations and has an associate membership base of 3,800 individual breeders and other industry participants.