Discussion with Thorough Care SA

The new horse ambulance

SAROA committee met with the Equine Welfare section of Racing SA – Thorough Care SA to discuss their role

Equine Welfare has become an increasing focus for Principal Racing Authorities for a number of years. South Australia has seen 1% of prizemoney being deducted for Equine Welfare Initiatives since July 1 2020 so owners are keen to know what the levy is being used for.

The 1% prizemoney levy is used to fund a number of Equine Welfare initiatives including the role of Racing SA Equine Welfare Officer. Appointed in March 2020, John Cornell has been in the role of Equine Welfare Officer, moving from the McEvoy Mitchell Racing team.

John, as Equine Welfare Officer has developed a close working relationship with the inspectorate division of the RSPCA, working together to improve welfare outcomes for thoroughbred horses in need. John will soon become the first racing official in Australia to be given Inspector powers under the Animal Welfare Act, equivalent to those of an RSPCA inspector but restricted to equine issues. John has been able to establish a productive relationship with the RSPCA in investigating and resolving matters of neglect in relation to equine animals.

On a more proactive basis, Thorough Care SA (TCSA) (the Welfare arm of Racing SA) has initiated a number of incentives for the uptake of retired racehorses into Off The Track (OTT) equestrian programmes. The support of TCSA and their presence at these events seeks to create demand for thoroughbreds after their racing involvements are over.

In addition, TCSA have purchased a state of the art Horse Ambulance that greatly improves the ability of racecourse personnel and vets to deal with any accident or injury that occurs on race days. The ambulance is currently available for metropolitan and provincial meetings and there are two more on order – one will be stationed in the South East and one will service the Port Augusta and Port Lincoln seasons. They are expected to be operational by July this year.

TCSA is also working with Clubs to improve horse safety and welfare related infrastructure at various tracks – for example, the provision of cooling aids to assist during the hotter months.

TCSA have just finalised “Retirement Packs” that will be supplied with a horse to be rehomed. The packs will include a rug and supplements and feed to a value of around $500 to the recipient, the cost to Racing SA will be around $200 due to the support it has been able to arrange with the suppliers involved. Hygain Feeds will offer a lifetime 25% discount on its products for any rehomed horse registered with Thorough Care SA.

TCSA is also working with Roseworthy, investigating whether there are any research projects that will assist in positive welfare outcomes for horses, particularly through education seminars and resources.

They have also been involved with Racing Australia on increasing the traceability of thoroughbred horses from birth to end of life. TCSA have also been involved in coordinating appropriate responses for the proposed Code of Conduct for horse transport companies as currently there are no National guidelines, they are State based.