Consulting widely with racing industry participants as well as scientists, animal welfare advocates and others, the Thoroughbred Welfare Aftercare Working Group aims to enhance the welfare outcomes for retired racehorses, unraced horses, and those retired from the breeding industry.
Whether it’s in the public service or his love for the thoroughbred horse and their welfare, former Victorian Premier Dr Denis Napthine is always passionate about whatever he tackles.
A qualified veterinarian, Dr Napthine has turned his hand from the often-arduous task of governing Victoria to establishing a world-class board to work on welfare issues that are so important to the ongoing success of the racing industry.
Vital research is well underway to help guide the recently formed, industry-driven, independent Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group (TAWWG) panel that is being chaired by Dr Napthine, in a role the one-time Premier is relishing.
“Already, significant work is being done examining the long-term fate of all thoroughbred foals born across Australia in recent years,” he said.
“We have also commissioned work to examine Australian and world best-practice for the aftercare of our beloved racehorses.”
“In addition, our working group is now receiving submissions from key stakeholders and interested individuals, including racing authorities, breeders and racing participants as well as organisations and people with expertise in animal welfare.”
“Our working group is particularly focused on the long-term welfare of retired racehorses, retired breeders and those young horses who never make it to the track.”
Dr Napthine points out that over the past three years, the number of thoroughbred foals produced in Australia has averaged around 13,000. This number, according to figures, has been decreasing since 2005 and is now significantly below the 18,750 that were born in that year.
According to TAWWG, during the same time period the number of race meetings, races and average number of runners per race has remained relatively constant, despite the decline in foal production.