New rule fast-tracked by Racing Australia

A new rule implemented by Racing Australia (RA) compelling thoroughbred breeders to register all foals within 30 days of birth will be in place from today, Tuesday 12 July 2016.

Its introduction has been fast-tracked in the wake of the proposed ban on greyhound racing in NSW.

The rule brings all thoroughbreds and their owners under the Australian Rules of Racing for the first time and comes at a time when the industry is being attacked by the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR).

Racing Australia chief executive Peter McGauran said the new rule, which was foreshadowed for introduction last week, has been brought forward from August 1.

“We are gazetting new rules which require foal owners to come under the rules of racing and thereby providing the mechanism to monitor the lifecycle of a thoroughbred until their retirement from racing,” McGauran said.

“We now have traceability of the thoroughbred herd for the first time in its history.

“This has been a result of many months of discussion, debate and consultation and it was always done with the knowledge that the community and governments would expect nothing less from a responsible and credible thoroughbred racing and breeding and industry.”

Despite opposition to the new rule of racing being introduced from some sectors of the industry, including Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, McGauran said it was imperative the traceability of a horse was possible for its lifespan.

“I can’t speak for them, however, Thoroughbred Breeders Australia do have reservations about the new rules, but I believe these rules will secure the long-term future of our sport and industry,” he said.

Under the new rule, foals will need to be registered within 30 days of birth unlike previously when they were not registered as racehorses until they were much older, usually as yearlings.

Racing Australia also introduced a rule two years ago compelling owners and trainers to declare the fate of their retired racehorses.  The results show nearly 90% of horses are retired to breeding, equestrian or recreational sectors, 5.5% die naturally, 3.5% are humanely euthanised, 0.5% are sent to an abattoir and 1% are not accounted for.

On Monday, CPR called for state governments around Australia to conduct inquiries into Thoroughbred racing, drawing comparisons with the greyhound industry.  “Take away the live-baiting and horse racing has exactly the same animal welfare issues greyhound racing has,” CPR campaign director Elio Celotto said.

McGauran strongly denied CPR’s claims and said the Thoroughbred industry had a number of initiatives in place to improve horse welfare.  “The claim that racing authorities are inactive on welfare issues is not supported by the facts,” he said.

The NSW government last week announced it would ban greyhound racing from 1 July next year following a damning Special Commissions of Inquiry conducted by Michael McHugh QC.

The new attack on horse racing by the CPR, which has advocated in the past for the banning of jumps racing in Victoria and South Australia, comes as the greyhound industry in NSW attempts to fight the government for its survival.