Western Australia will lead the nation in the welfare standards for all racehorses with the introduction of the Western Australian Racehorse Welfare Plan.
The plan of action, announced by the State Government and Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) today, will see a range of new and expanded initiatives to safeguard the wellbeing of WA racehorses.
In the first year, more than $5 million will be spent implementing the plan, with a further $3 million recurring annually.
A key pillar of the plan creates greater oversight of a racehorse once it leaves the care of the racing industry – with the establishment of a WA Racehorse Passport.
Other initiatives include:
A comprehensive WA Racehorse Census of all current and post-racing thoroughbreds & standardbreds in WA
- RWWA aim to know the whereabouts and condition of each and every registered racehorse in WA
- Increased compliance via enforcement of reporting requirements
Increased oversight of retiring racehorses in WA
- WA’s Racehorse Passport to be provided to all retiring racehorses, tracking horses post racing
- New owners taking on retired racehorses to receive financial incentives, educational material and welfare care packages to support the racehorses’ transition to post-racing career
Establish a dedicated Racehorse Welfare Facility in WA
- RWWA will acquire a multi-purpose equine welfare property for the use of retraining and emergency care for retired racehorses
Introduction of Retirement Rule
- Introduce new WA rule of racing, whereby industry must aim to rehome all healthy and behaviourally sound thoroughbreds and standardbreds
- This initiative is an Australian first
Increased oversight over knackeries or abattoirs processing racehorses
- RWWA will establish an MoU and mandatory reporting process with WA registered abattoirs and knackeries who wish to receive race horses for processing
- Those abattoirs and knackeries will be subject to random inspections to ensure they are meeting MoU conditions
- Legislation to be introduced to increase oversight over knackeries and abattoirs processing racehorses
Licensing of WA breeders
- Commit to the development of a licensing regime to regulate breeding activity in the racing industry
- First State in Australia to introduce this initiative
Continued pressure on the Federal Government to implement and oversee a National Traceability Register, including export
- Western Australian racehorses must be tracked when they move interstate
- The Federal Government must ensure WA racehorses cannot be exported to countries with inadequate animal welfare standards
A two-year review of the Western Australia Racehorse Welfare Plan will address any gaps, failures or areas of improvement, as well as inform any future legislative change.
As stated by Racing and Gaming Minister Paul Papalia:
“Racing and Wagering Western Australia (RWWA) in collaboration with the State Government has developed a robust welfare plan that incorporates all stages of a racehorse’s life through a program of investment, education, monitoring and regulation.
“Western Australia is leading the nation on racehorse welfare. We are doing more than any other State to look after our racehorses.
“I applaud the industry for getting behind the plan of action and ensuring our racehorses receive the best treatment from birth to death.
“I now call on the Commonwealth Government to play its part and implement and oversee a National Traceability Register as a priority.”