The British Horseracing Authority is looking for ways to improve the overall welfare strategy of post-racing care of racehorses by improving horse tracking from birth to death, Racing Post reported on Wednesday evening. David Sykes, who is the BHA's Director of Equine Health and Welfare, views traceability as one of the key initiatives required to improve horse welfare, with the information collected to be kept in a BHA database. Currently, a 30-day foal notification, which came into effect in 2018, will improve data collection. Plans are being drawn up to work with Retraining of Racehorses for a system of accredited centres for retraining and rehoming.
“As an industry, we have a responsibility as we breed horses to go racing and we need to recognise that still remains in finding appropriate outcomes for those horses afterwards,” Sykes told Racing Post on Wednesday. “There are private retraining and rehoming facilities we have no regulation over, and we don't wish to, but we'd like to have discussions about their part in that industry and come to an agreement whereby they voluntarily give us details about the next stage of the movement after racing.”
As part of the initiative to improve horse welfare, a traceability survey was sent out to trainers, which received 221 replies. Owners will also be contacted to provide feedback in the future.
Added Sykes, “We'd also like to know where young horses have been before they get to licensed yards, and the Thoroughbred Breeders' Association understands it will be part of the process. It's not only important from a traceability and anti-doping perspective, but also in terms of the movement of horses after Brexit has been completed.”