equiprove Submission to the Thoroughbred Welfare Initiative’s

Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group


To the Secretariat,


Thank you for the opportunity to make a submission to the Thoroughbred Welfare Initiative’s Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group.


We have focused our response to Issue 3 – Thoroughbred Traceability, and Issue 5 – Regulation in our submission.


equiprove® is the Equine Intelligence Network that collects, curates and connects Australian equine information. The network is a knowledge platform connecting secure and reliable information across the equine industry. A convenient service that makes it easy for the Australian equine community to access, record and share equine data to whoever they choose. Anytime. Anywhere.


equiprove® will provide clarity and confidence around the identity, provenance and the whereabouts of Australian horses, offering insight into the size and characteristics of the Australian equine population.


We believe in the need for traceability and transparency across the equine industry.


equiprove® will assist the industry to increase certainty, improve safety and respond to biosecurity, reducing risk and strengthening the integrity of the Australian horse market.


equiprove® embraces technological opportunities, bringing the equine industry in line with other innovative Australian industries.


Our technology partner is SAP®. A global leader in software development and services. SAP® provides confidence that compliance against data security, data protection and privacy is world class.


Issue 3 – Thoroughbred Traceability How would a national horse traceability register assist in improving welfare outcomes for retired racehorses and thoroughbreds that have never raced?


There is no question that traceability is needed for thoroughbreds who have finished their racing careers, who have never raced and who have retired from the thoroughbred breeding industry.


However, there are two separate approaches to traceability.


The first, most commonly referred to approach, is a centralised National Horse Traceability Register/database. A traditional approach that does not suit the Australian context and does not take advantage of contemporary thinking or technology.


Generally, Australia is not attracted to centralised (federal) approaches, preferring localised (state) responses in the first instance. To secure a federal/state agreement or to harmonise across jurisdictions is a significant and costly task.


Current established and reliable equine registries, both racing and non-racing, question the efficiency and take-up of a further database that duplicates their records.


Further, a standalone database would not assist in improving welfare outcomes for retired thoroughbreds. The reason is because it is just that. A database. Data that has no meaning or use is of no value. The National Equine Influenza Register is a good example of how a stand-alone database does not achieve traceability.


The second approach, the equiprove® approach, views the horse as an asset across its life span. Our Equine Intelligence Network will track and trace the life events and circumstances of a horse, amongst other things, to provide a verified, trusted view of that horse when required.


equiprove® has the capability to link existing equine registry databases and equine service provider platforms on the Equine Intelligence Network, enabling horse owners the opportunity to access, add, store, and share data about breeding and registration, ownership, movements, health management and performance management, with whoever they authorise or to whoever requires it.


equiprove® would accept all retired thoroughbreds through the simple transfer of authorised data from racing systems to equiprove®. Essentially, establishing a suitable profile to support their non racing sector careers.


Who should pay to establish and maintain a national horse traceability register?


Again, the traditional approach would see government fund and potentially maintain a national horse traceability register / database. We believe there are fundamental growth and sustainability issues in a long term government or grants led investment approach. Again, this was reflected in the lack of success of the National Equine Influenza Register.


As an industry-based solution, our view and financial modelling sees equiprove® established through industry and/or private investment. Maintenance, growth and product/service development and ongoing re-investment, are integral to our modelling.


Government may well have an appetite for a ‘one off’ investment in establishment and equiprove® would always pursue research and development grants.


Who should initiate and manage this register?


We believe that industry is best placed to initiate a solution that meets the equine community requirements. In turn, management of the solution would sit with the organisation providing the service.


Whilst government support through the registering of all horses through the regulatory environment is important, we do not believe there is a direct operational role for government in the management of a register. Indeed, equiprove® is well placed to facilitate industry self-regulation.


equiprove® would manage both the solution and service. Solution development, maintenance and support would be provided through SAP®. Being commercially orientated, equiprove® has an investment road-map, identifying future enhancements and new capabilities to provide more services for the equine industry.


Given that all thoroughbreds are microchipped and registered with the Australian Stud Book, would a national horse register be a duplication?


Yes.


With equiprove® there will be no duplication.


equiprove® utilises part of the SAP® Intelligent Asset Management Solution Portfolio, which facilitates collaborative asset management. The SAP® Asset Intelligence Network allows for data to be stored independently, accessed and shared when authorised by the data owner. A network of equine databases and information. The Equine Intelligence Network.


We see the Australian Stud Book as the original source of truth for thoroughbred provenance.


Ideally, the Australian Stud Book would authorise key identifiers to verify provenance. This would mean that all thoroughbreds could be captured on equiprove®. Either on retirement or when a racing career is seen as nonviable, with the correct provenance verified, not duplicated. equiprove® then picks up the traceability of that horse across its future ownership history and life events.


Without an operational national horse traceability register how can the thoroughbred industry maintain visibility over horses that leave the racing and breeding industry?


All registered horses can be uniquely identified. Whether it is branding, markings, microchip, pictures, etc. As all thoroughbreds are registered, they continue to maintain some form of visibility when they leave the racing and breeding industry. However, it has proven difficult to maintain traceability across the various post racing and breeding pathways.


equiprove® offers an alternative traceability solution to a centralised National Traceability Register.


equiprove® is considering the merit of establishing a separate charitable arm and/or partnering arrangements with equine charities. A potential key benefit being greater transparency for the general public in terms of the impact of donations. To this end, equiprove® is working with Horses for Hope Limited to explore partnering models.


We also see an opportunity to develop a service that provides for ‘proof of health’ by equine health management professionals to support the ongoing welfare of thoroughbreds, particularly for those thoroughbreds who do not follow a performance career or other highly visible pathway.


equiprove® is cognisant of the impact horse welfare issues have on the equine industry when appearing in the public domain. We are confident in SAP’s® data security, protection and privacy capabilities to minimise risk of inappropriate access and use of data. To complement our technology, and as part of equiprove® governance, we would establish a Data Integrity Committee.


Are the thoroughbred industry’s traceability measures working effectively?


The Australian racing sector has excellent traceability and management systems.


Traceability has become an issue after the thoroughbred leaves the racing sector and enters the non-racing sector. It is at this junction that data and information often becomes poorly recorded or non-existent.


The failure being due to no formalised hand over/transfer requirements and no system to accept them. Recently, this failure has caused the racing industry significant reputational damage with respect to both safety and welfare.


equiprove® would facilitate a seamless transfer and is then able to trace the thoroughbred across future life events and management. This provides a verified record and insight into what that life looked like, and clearly identifies the history of that horse after retirement from racing.


Issue 5 - Regulation Is the current horse welfare regulatory framework adequate?


2005 saw recommendations for the State and Territory Animal Welfare Codes to be converted to a National Animal Welfare legislation. 15 years later, this amalgamation has not eventuated, due to not only the resistance of harmonising state and territory jurisdictions, but critically, who pays for a National Code to be implemented?


In the absence of national policy, legislation and regulatory environment, there is no agreed or harmonised approach to horse welfare. Horses that move from one jurisdiction to another become harder to track, trace, identify and action interventions.


What improvements could be made to the legislation?


Generally, Australia is not attracted to centralised (federal) approaches, preferring localised (state) responses in the first instance. To secure a federal/state agreement or to harmonise across jurisdictions is a significant and costly task.


Our view is that there two key improvements:


  1. All horses in Australia should be registered, not just the eligible horses for pedigree registrations that are currently available. There should also be an identification registration for the ‘unknown’. In time, the unknown will become the ‘known’. This paves the first step into traceability.

  2. All horses that are used for commercial purposes in Australia should be audited to confirm they are fit for purpose, for example, riding schools.

equiprove® is able to facilitate these improvements now, allowing for industry self-regulation and with the ability to harmonise approaches across jurisdictions with agreements made in principle.


Do we need national animal welfare standards and guidelines for horses?


With the uptake of equiprove®, States and Territories retain legislative and regulatory independence. This provides an opportunity for a National approach that does not rely heavily on formalised cross jurisdictional agreements.


In line with this, equiprove® would support and participate in further work to establish industry agreed best practice national standards, accreditation and a quality assurance framework.


Do we need more effective monitoring and enforcement of current horse welfare legislation?


Yes.


There is prime opportunity for government and industry to strengthen the roles that monitor and enforce welfare.


equiprove® could support welfare-oriented government and industry initiatives through the mandatory recording and management of thoroughbred data and information. For example, if there has been no activity on an equiprove® thoroughbred’s profile either by way of updates or through ‘proof of health’, then this thoroughbred can be formally flagged as being seen to be in need of investigation.


Further, as with all legislation and regulatory environments, enforcement is critical. Setting aside traceability issues, horse welfare has a poor record of enforcement, exacerbated by poorly defined roles and powers across key welfare enforcement organisations.


equiprove® can attend to key traceability issues now and into the future. We would be committed to working with government and industry to mature a contemporary approach to horse welfare management.


We see a unique opportunity to work with equine welfare organisations to gather requirements for future equiprove® capability development.


There is Life after Racing.


An OTT thoroughbred should have every opportunity to be a performance horse, a leisure horse, a foundation breeding horse, a riding school horse, a police horse, a specialised equine assisted therapy horse, or a loved family member. If not, it is a horse that needs to be humanely dealt with.


However, the journey down these pathways are not clear. We believe poor outcomes often arise through lack of good data and information on life events and management.


We believe training and riding & non-riding re-homing programs are essential to identifying the appropriate pathways for thoroughbreds through assessment, retraining, and matching the horse to purpose.


However, this does not solve the complete re-purposing problem the racing industry is faced with.


equiprove® envisions that, with the accumulation of data and use of analytics*, we can provide industry with key insights and true predictions on the outcomes of thoroughbreds leaving the racing sector. This should consistently result in predictable pathways and positive outcomes.


equiprove® would like to see our tradition of transitioning thoroughbreds to high performance equestrian disciplines globally re-energised.


We believe Australia has a proven record in thoroughbred breeding and that our thoroughbreds are capable of local, national and international success, both on and off the racetrack.


Where we are at:


equiprove® has worked with and continues to engage with industry to gather requirements.


In collaboration with SAP®, we have an extensive prototype to show case capability. This underpins our minimum viable product (MVP) or equiprove® release 1.


equiprove® is actively seeking investment to implement the Equine Intelligence Network into the Australian and New Zealand equine industries.


We believe there is an exciting opportunity for equiprove® to work with the racing industry to resolve the issue of ex-racehorse traceability.


We look forward to further discussion and sharing the prototype with you. equiprove® will be the leader in connecting real-time data in the equine industry.


Kind regards,


Ali Geeves CEO and Co-Founder equiprove®

0432 530 003

www.equiprove.com

equiprove Equine Intelligence Network



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