Racing Victoria establishes Equine Welfare Advisory Council

Racing Victoria Staff

3 July 2020

Racing Victoria (RV) is pleased to announce the establishment of a new Equine Welfare Advisory Council to serve as a source of expert advice and opinion to assist RV to effectively implement its three-year industry-wide Equine Welfare Strategic Plan launched in mid-2019.

The introduction of the Advisory Council comes following RV’s minimum $25 million commitment to accelerate and expand its equine welfare action plan, with a focus on the post-racing well-being of thoroughbreds.

The foundation Advisory Council members, including four persons who are independent of RV, sat for the first time this week (Tuesday, 30 June).The independent members of the Advisory Council include:

  • Dr Andrew McLean – Equitation Science International, Co-Director

  • Dr Liz Walker – RSPCA Victoria, CEO

  • Dr Margot Seneque – Murdoch University, Animal Welfare Officer

  • Dr Malcolm France – Laboratory Animal Care and Management, Consultant

Additionally, the three RV members of the Advisory Council include:

  • Jennifer Hughes – General Manager, Equine Welfare (Chair)

  • Dr Grace Forbes – General Manager, Veterinary Services

  • Jamie Stier – Executive General Manager, Integrity Services

The Advisory Council will ultimately have scope for eight members, with the balance of five persons who are independent of RV, providing the opportunity for one additional member to join the Advisory Council in the near future. This will be on the direction of the RV Board.

Those selected to join the Advisory Council will provide the relevant expertise and experience required to not only shape the delivery of RV’s equine welfare action plan but generally advance equine welfare across the Victorian thoroughbred racing industry.

Working within the scope of the Equine Welfare Strategic Plan, the Advisory Council will also be tasked with identifying opportunities to enhance the sport’s commitment to safeguard the wellbeing of every racehorse before, during and after racing.

RV General Manager - Equine Welfare, Jennifer Hughes:

“The Equine Welfare Advisory Council is one of the adopted proposals in the Racing Victoria three-year industry-wide Equine Welfare Strategic Plan endorsed by the RV Board in June 2019.

“This is an important opportunity to bring together an experienced and varying group of individuals to help enhance the delivery of our equine welfare action plan.

“The purpose of the Advisory Council is to utilise each independent member’s knowledge and expertise to ensure we deliver our equine welfare projects and programs in the best possible manner to achieve the right outcomes.”

RV General Manager - Veterinary Services, Dr Grace Forbes:

“Our attitude is we can always get better at equine welfare, and the introduction of the Advisory Council demonstrates a great opportunity to obtain further support and contributions from a variety of respected industry leaders that are independent of Racing Victoria.

“This initiative is about identifying matters for consideration through different lenses that will ultimately allow us to best deliver the priority projects and programs we have set out in the equine welfare action plan.

“From research projects to statewide re-homing programs, there are many important objectives within our Equine Welfare Strategic Plan and we want to ensure that they are realised to best effect.”

Dr Andrew McLean – Equitation Science International, Co-Director:

“I’m very happy to be part of the Equine Welfare Advisory Council.

“In my view it has been formed in the proper way with the necessary range of skills and expertise in animal welfare, sport and racing.

“Racing Victoria sets a very significant benchmark with a strategic plan that will not only benefit welfare throughout the racehorse’s life but will also increase the potential for a worthwhile life after the horse’s racing career.”

Dr Malcolm France – Laboratory Animal Care and Management, Consultant:

“The independence of most of the Council’s membership is one of its real strengths. It shows that the initiative values transparency and new perspectives.”

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