Industry Commits More Than $25 Million To The Welfare Of Racehorses

Buy a ticket to the Melbourne Cup carnival and you too can help the horses.

That's the message from the Victoria Racing Club -- host of the Melbourne Cup Carnival -- which is taking positive steps on two fronts to address equine welfare concerns.

The VRC announced today that 10 percent of all public ticket sales for this year’s Melbourne Cup Carnival, and 5 percent of VRC annual membership fees, will be redirected to the VRC Equine Wellbeing Fund for the care of racehorses.

So that's how individual racegoers can make a difference.

But the industry as a whole is also contributing on a wider scale to the wellbeing of racehorses after their racing careers.

The VRC has established the VRC Equine Wellbeing Fund, kick-started with a contribution of more than $1 million.

"We want everyone to know that we are absolutely committed to the wellbeing of racehorses both on and off the track," VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott said.

And Racing Victoria, the governing body of racing in the state, has today announced a $25 million plan dedicated to the welfare of Victorian thoroughbreds with an immediate focus on their post-racing wellbeing.

The landmark commitment will fund the first three years of an ongoing program to accelerate and expand RV’s Equine Welfare Strategic Plan.

They still have lives ahead of them when their careers are behind them. Image: Getty.

The $25 million commitment will deliver:

  • A statewide re-homing program: An extended re-homing network which takes advantage of existing infrastructure to support retired thoroughbreds transitioning into second careers or forever homes;
  • Post-racing career options: An expanded Off The Track Program to create more career opportunities for thoroughbreds who have retired from racing;
  • A statewide foster program: A new foster program to provide short to medium term support for thoroughbreds in need;
  • An advanced tracking system: A new Off The Track (OTT) database to register retiring Victorian thoroughbreds to (at least) their first post-racing home and for as long as they remain part of the expanded OTT program; independent audits of the status of all thoroughbred and broodmares; and analysis of data on livestock sales;
  • An equine welfare taskforce: A dedicated in-house taskforce focused on delivering programs that improve welfare outcomes for Victorian thoroughbreds;
  • Humane euthanasia: A new humane ‘on farm’ euthanasia program administered by registered veterinarians for thoroughbreds where this is considered the most appropriate outcome; and
  • Responsible breeding: Support for a national responsible breeding campaign led by Racing Australia and Thoroughbred Breeders Australia to reduce the number of thoroughbreds that end up with no options.

"We fully endorse and commend the announcement made today by Racing Victoria of the investment of $25 million to support the fast-tracking of the industry’s off-the-track initiatives," VRC Chairman Amanda Elliott added.

"We are pleased to support the industry with our own substantial fund. We know our sponsors, members and the thousands of people who enjoy the Melbourne Cup Carnival all have a genuine concern for the care of our horses."

READ MORE: Hate The Mistreatment Of Retired Horses, But Don’t Hate The Sport

And in case you're confused...

  • The Victoria Racing Club runs racing at Flemington, where the Melbourne Cup is run.
  • Racing Victoria is the governing body of horse racing in the entire state of Victoria.

Network 10 will broadcast all four days of the Melbourne Cup Carnival, beginning with Derby Day, this Saturday, November 2.