The Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group (TAWWG) report has been welcomed by the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA).

The report, The Most Important Participant, was independently compiled by the working group members and received over 180 individual submissions, with members also holding consultation meetings with more than 50 organisations and people.

Dr. Warwick Vale, President AVA, said based on research documented in the report, the ongoing success of the racing industry is dependent upon the community having confidence in the welfare of all of its horses.

“The report notes that 29 per cent of people who are unsupportive of racing would change their position if they had confidence that welfare of the horses was managed effectively.”

Included in the report are recommendations directed at supporting the aftercare challenges facing the thoroughbred and racing industries.

“As an equine veterinarian dealing with sport horses, I have seen the enormous value that thoroughbreds bring to horse owners in a wide range of disciplines after they finish racing. Key to their success, documented in the report, is best practice foundation training, care when racing and retraining after racing. Establishing a framework to ensure that this occurs is a key industry responsibility that the AVA supports.”

Dr. Vale said the report shows that there is a lack of State and Federal Government regulatory framework surrounding horse welfare.

“The AVA endorses the recent efforts to establish minimal welfare standards, transport standards, traceability, and standards for processing horses. These are present for other livestock, but not horses. Veterinarians look forward to working with State and Federal ministers to further advance this work.”