Providing leadership, support and advice on caring for thoroughbred racehorses through their lifetime, the International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR) is a combined effort of some of the best in equine welfare from around the world.
“If we don’t do this there’s a big risk to our sport. We are passionate about horses and racing, and if we don’t really get a grip of this globally, then that is a major risk to us.”
Alarmist? Frightening? Making a mountain out of a molehill?
Some might think so, but the above sentiments are the view of well-respected racing figure Roger Weatherby, a senior steward of the British Jockey Club, one of the oldest and most traditional racing administrations in the world.
Weatherby, who is quoted on the website of IFAR – the International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses – is well placed to judge not just industry attitudes, but public opinion.
He, like everyone else involved in the sport, knows that concepts such as social license – unheard of perhaps even a decade ago – are now very much part of the discussion where recreational pursuits involving animals are concerned.
IFAR was set up in 2016 and has an impressive array of institutions and companies amongst its funders and supporters, all working toward making life better for racehorses at all stages of their existence.
“Our mission is to promote the care of thoroughbred horses during their lifetime”, states the simple mission statement IFAR uses as a guiding principle.
Racing Australia, through the presence of Racing Victoria’s General Manager of Equine Welfare, Jennifer Hughes, is one of those organisations that has signed up to the IFAR objective, as has Britain’s BHA (British Horseracing Authority), America’s Jockey Club, leading bloodstock and racing company Godolphin and Retraining of Racehorses (RoR), British Horseracing’s official charity for the welfare of horses who have retired from racing.
All have representatives on the steering committee. Hughes is one of those committee members, and says that far from being like herding cats – as cynics might regard the task of bringing together such a multi-national group – the participants are all eager to work together and support each other.