Equine Welfare Initiatives

Racing NSW equine welfare initiatives are built on the principles that all Thoroughbred horses should be treated equally irrespective of success or ability and that all Thoroughbred horses should find a suitable new home following their racing careers.

These principles are the foundation of Equine Welfare Local Rule 114 (‘LR114’) which was introduced by Racing NSW in October 2017. This rule is in addition to Australian Rule of Racing 231 and is designed to ensure the welfare of thoroughbreds throughout their life whilst in the care of NSW Thoroughbred Industry Participants, and in particular how they are protected upon retirement. Racing NSW has released Minimum Standards and Guidelines of Equine Welfare, which contains compulsory Minimum Standards and also ‘best practice’ Guidelines for the NSW Thoroughbred Racing Industry. 1.5% of prizemoney from every Thoroughbred horse race in NSW is directed to the Equine Welfare Fund to support Racing NSW equine welfare initiatives.

The vast majority of NSW Thoroughbred Industry Participants provide exceptional care for their horses and find them suitable new homes upon retirement. Racing NSW provides a regulatory framework to deter and investigate those participants who don’t appropriately care for and rehome their horses. The Equine Welfare Division has built on this with the implementation of the initiatives below which seek to strengthen opportunities for, and support, retired Thoroughbred racehorses.

Racing NSW equine welfare initiatives include:

Team Thoroughbred NSW – Care, Retraining, and Rehoming

Team Thoroughbred NSW is Racing NSW’s direct retraining and rehoming program for retired NSW thoroughbred racehorses. This program operates out of multiple properties across the state acquired by Racing NSW for the purpose of equine welfare. These Thoroughbred retraining facilities ensure that industry participants have an avenue to rehome their horses if their rehoming efforts have not been successful when they decide to retire their horses or not commence racing them. 

Equine Welfare Vets

Racing NSW employs dedicated Equine Welfare Vets who are responsible for; the ongoing care and treatment of horses in Team Thoroughbred NSW, and conducting retired horse audits. Our vets are also on hand to provide advice to owners of retired Thoroughbreds at any stage of their life.

Retired Horse Audits

The racing industry is committed to ensuring that accurate traceability data is provided for all Thoroughbreds throughout their racing careers and in their retirement. Industry participants must ensure that the current location of horses in their care is always known and that horses are being retired to suitable homes in accordance with Racing NSW Minimum Standards.

Retirement data is provided by Racing Australia and is routinely reviewed by Racing NSW Stewards, Investigators, and Equine Welfare Vets and they will then schedule retired horse audits across NSW. These visits provide opportunities for our team to provide advice and support to new owners, as well as confirm that accurate career and location details are listed for Thoroughbreds in their care.  

Reporting Welfare concerns

Racing NSW has a dedicated email address, thoroughbredwelfare@racingnsw.com.au where anyone can confidentially report concerns for the welfare of a Thoroughbred in NSW. Racing NSW Equine Welfare and Integrity teams work closely to review these matters and investigate further to ensure the welfare of Thoroughbreds in NSW.

The Excluded List

The Excluded List has been introduced to prohibit thoroughbreds from being transferred, gifted, or sold to a person that has not complied with required equine welfare standards or with the Rules of Racing.     

Approved Livestock Auctions

Approved Livestock Auctions are those that have been approved by Racing NSW to sell NSW domiciled Thoroughbreds on conditions such as placing a minimum reserve on those horses and providing Racing NSW with vendor and new owner details to ensure ongoing traceability. The current approved Livestock Auctions approved are:

Emergency Equine Welfare Assistance

Racing NSW emergency assistance is assessed on a case-by-case basis to ensure that horses have appropriate support if they are classified as high risk.

End Of Life Welfare
The End of Life Welfare Program applies to all retired Thoroughbred horses that have been predominately domiciled in NSW where the cost of euthanasia may be prohibitive to the owner, to ensure horses have access to humane euthanasia. Euthanasia under the End of Life Welfare Program is only permitted where a veterinarian with a Racing NSW permit has certified that it is necessary on genuine welfare or safety reasons and in the best interests of the horse. In the event an application to this program is approved, Racing NSW will pay the relevant costs directly to the service provider.

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