The Commonwealth, State and Territory Government consultation process on Australian Animal Standards & Guidelines is being revisited following the 2020 independent review into cruelty in the management of retired racehorses.
This latest review seeks to include all movement of horses by land transport, including horses transported for livestock production purposes (mustering), and for sport such as polocrosse and pony club.
AgForce has been reviewing and preparing a submission as many of our members are horse owners and will be impacted by the new standards.
Our submission will outline the risks and opportunities presented by the proposed new standards and guidelines, in a bid to best represent the interests of members.
As well as looking at the provision of water, rest during the journey, heat stress, travelling backwards, and appropriate bedding, our initial observations are as follows:
- The proposed measures featured in the consultation paper are not supported by scientific evidence, and more research needs to be done to understand where investment is most needed to achieve better welfare outcomes for horses.
- The consultation paper does not distinguish clearly between standards and guidelines – standards are legally enforceable whereas guidelines are only considered best practice.
- Horses used to muster livestock should be exempt from the review.
We are now consulting more broadly with more specialised organisations to ensure we include a broad industry perspective.