Thoroughbred Welfare Assessment Guidelines - NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING - NZ Racing
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Acknowledgements NZTR in the process of writing these guidelines is indebted to a number of experts. In particular, NZTR wishes to acknowledge Professor David Mellor (International Animal Welfare Consultants Limited, New Zealand), Dr Tim Pearce, Dr Trish Pearce along with Wendy Cooper and Justine Sclater, as repre- sentatives of trainers and breeders respectively. Martin Burns GM – Racing & Equine Welfare October 2019 These Guidelines are regularly reviewed and updated. Pre-publish consultation: June 2019. Initially published: October 2019.
THOROUGHBRED WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES 1 Contents Introduction and purpose_______________________________________________________________________ 2 Context and background________________________________________________________________________ 3 Section 1 – Welfare assessment guidelines for the general husbandry and care of thoroughbreds at all stages of their life______________________________________________________ 6 1. Nutrition_______________________________________________________________________________ 10 2. Environment____________________________________________________________________________ 11 3. Health__________________________________________________________________________________ 12 4. Behaviour_______________________________________________________________________________ 12 5. Mental or affective state________________________________________________________________ 13 Section 2 – Welfare assessment guidelines for thoroughbred horses prior to racing____________ 15 Section 3 – Welfare guidelines for thoroughbred racehorses____________________________________ 17 Section 4 – Welfare assessment guidelines for thoroughbreds in breeding_____________________ 19 Section 5 – Welfare assessment guidelines for thoroughbred horses after racing_______________ 21 Appendices_____________________________________________________________________________________ 23 A. The 5 Domains Model for Equine Welfare_________________________________________________24 B. Welfare Guidelines in relation to horses in racing (based on IFHA guidelines)______________26 C. Body condition scoring of horses_________________________________________________________28 D. Potential career options for Thoroughbreds after racing________________________________ 31
2 NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING Introduction and purpose The New Zealand Thoroughbred racing NZTR’s expectations of Rather, the Rules and these Guidelines industry is committed to the welfare Thoroughbred Welfare together intend to set and enforce of the New Zealand Thoroughbred standards of care that exceed the racehorse and the maintenance of By and large, owners, trainers and standards that are enforceable under appropriate horse welfare standards. breeders of Thoroughbreds in New the Animal Welfare Act and applicable This reflects the Maori term Zealand meet or exceed minimum Codes of Welfare. To be clear, were it to ‘tiakitanga’, meaning: guardianship, standards as prescribed in these be a possibility that breaches of Codes caring of, protection, upkeep. 1 guidelines. However, the benchmarks of Welfare or acts of cruelty or abject provided by these guidelines enable neglect might be proven under the New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing’s consideration by New Zealand Animal Welfare Act or Animal Welfare vision for Thoroughbred welfare: Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) or the Regulations, then this would be Racing Integrity Unit (RIU) when referred by New Zealand Thoroughbred determining whether standards have Racing or the Racing Integrity Unit “A Thoroughbred should be not been met, and corrective action to the appropriate law enforcement provided a good life, with and/or charges must be laid. agency. the care and conditions that New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing’s allow it to thrive and perform Rules of Racing contain enforcement to its natural abilities.” provisions relating to the principles and vision within this document. The aim of these welfare guidelines is These guidelines are intended as to ensure that Thoroughbred horses in objective measures, against which the New Zealand have a ‘good life’, defined care and condition of Thoroughbreds as one with a higher proportion of can be assessed for the purposes of rewarding and positive than negative investigations in accordance with experiences. 2 Part XIV of these Rules. To achieve this aim and to fulfil It is important to understand that tiakitanga responsibility, overall welfare these guidelines and the powers must substantially exceed minimum provided under the Rules of Racing legal requirements and should include are not intended as a substitute to most of the optimal welfare conditions the Animal Welfare Act 1999 nor the for Thoroughbreds. powers conferred to the Police or Animal Welfare Inspectors (whether employed by the Ministry for Primary Industries or SPCA New Zealand). 1 As defined in maoridictionary.co.nz (noun: guardianship, caring of, protection, upkeep) 2 Edgar, J.L., Mullan, S.M., Pritchard, J.C., McFarlane, U.J.C., and Main, D.C.J. (2013). Towards a ‘good life’ for farm animals: development of a resource tier framework to achieve positive welfare for laying hens. Animals 2013, 3, 584-605 doi:10:10.3390/ani3030584
THOROUGHBRED WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES 3 Context and background High welfare standards benefit the • Certification of horses for flat individual horse as well as the whole racing and jumping Thoroughbred racing industry. Horse • Minimum age restrictions for welfare and peak performance are horses in flat and jumping races closely connected. • Ability to refuse the nomination of Equine welfare has, for a long time, a horse been important to New Zealand • Rules restricting the use and type Thoroughbred Racing, evident through: of whips • Close involvement and support • Provision of fully equipped horse of NZ Equine Health Association ambulances (where available) at (NZEHA) and NZ Equine Research trials and races Foundation (NZERF), the NZ Equine • Regular inspection of stables and Trust, the Ministry for Primary medical assessment Industries (MPI), the New Zealand • Race day veterinary inspections to Equine Veterinary Association ensure suitability to start (NZEVA), the NZ Horse Ambulance • Attendance of farriers and plate Trust and SPCA New Zealand. and gear inspections on race day • Active support of equine science • Powers to euthanise severely academic research, principally by injured horses Massey University. The knowledge gained from research is typically • Powers to abandon race meetings extended to the care of horses via • Investment in racing and training equine veterinarians. surfaces and other infrastructure • NZTR’s Rules of Racing includes a improvements wide range of clauses relating to • Education and training of trainers, horse welfare breeding staff, jockeys and stable • Competency testing and licensing hands. of jockeys and trainers
4 NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING In general, the New Zealand Further, and in relation to the post- Thoroughbred industry is performing retirement welfare of Thoroughbreds, well on equine welfare matters. these Guidelines outline the Duty However, there are some welfare of Care of persons accountable for compromises, which we aim to improve Thoroughbreds. They also include over time. These include, but are not educational material that aims to limited to, whip use, racing injuries ensure that post-retirement owners and deaths. Whilst typically not a understand appropriate care, stabling welfare matter per se for individual and feed requirements of their horse. horses, the general guardianship of the Thoroughbred population will be These guidelines are aligned with: enhanced by improved traceability • The provisions of the Animal of the Thoroughbred population and Welfare Act 1999 3 gaining a better understanding of • Code of Welfare: Horses and welfare matters arising from the exit Donkeys 4 of horses from the active racing or • Equine relevant Animal Welfare breeding populations. To address this, (Care and Procedures) Regulations NZTR aims to further increase demand 2018 5 for Thoroughbreds as sport or pleasure horses, and to educate owners of • International Group of Specialist retired Thoroughbreds regarding best Racing Veterinarians (IGSRV) care. Welfare Guidelines for Horse Racing 6 The Thoroughbred Welfare Guidelines • International Federation of outlined in this document provide a Horseracing Authorities (IFHA) clearly understandable framework Welfare Standards 7 for the care of Thoroughbreds before, • Equine health and welfare during and after racing, and include materials published by the NZ aligned welfare benchmarks that Equine Research Foundation. 8 clarify: 1. Desired or optimal welfare conditions for Thoroughbreds; and 2. Minimum acceptable welfare conditions for Thoroughbreds in development, racing, retirement and breeding which, if not consistently met, will lead to required corrective measures as provisioned under the Rules of Racing. 3 http://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/public/1999/0142/56.0/whole.html#DLM49664 and http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/ public/2018/0050/latest/whole.html#LMS22850 4 https://www.mpi.govt.nz/dmsdocument/11003-horses-and-donkeys-code-of-welfare 5 http://www.legislation.govt.nz/regulation/public/2018/0050/latest/whole.html [note: as at mid-2019 the regulations on surgical procedures remain in process of consultation by the Ministry for Primary Industries – see http://www.vetcouncil.org.nz/documentation/Other/MPI_2016- 12-Proposed-Animal-Welfare-Regulations.pdf] 6 https://igsrv.org/welfare and outlined in Section 3 of this document 7 https://www.ifhaonline.org/default.asp?section=About%20IFHA&area=30 8 http://www.nzerf.co.nz/books
6 NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING Section 1 – Welfare assessment guidelines for the general husbandry and care of thoroughbreds at all stages of their life Introduction It is critical, therefore, that licence We recognise they have individual holders (trainers and jockeys), owners personalities and are alert to the As stated in the general introduction, and breeders of racehorses are familiar different and subtle cues that are the welfare assessment guidelines with this entire document. Ignorance indicators of welfare for each horse. We outlined in this document provide a of these guidelines is not a defence recognise that each horse will develop framework of clear expectations for the or justification for failure to meet differently, and because of this, we care of Thoroughbreds before, during minimum welfare standards. tailor training to the individual horse. and after racing, and include aligned welfare benchmarks that clarify: It matters because we often form 1. Desired or optimal welfare The Thoroughbred-human emotional bonds with the horses in conditions for Thoroughbreds; and relationship in New Zealand our care. We have a high regard for 2. Minimum acceptable welfare their abilities and contributions as an The horse-human bond underpins conditions for Thoroughbreds in athlete. It matters because a happy, Thoroughbred welfare and is exhibited development, racing, retirement healthy horse is generally a well on a daily basis in the racing and and breeding specifically performing horse. It matters because breeding of Thoroughbreds. The addressing: even occasional cases of poor horse industry and stakeholders have welfare are usually preventable. a. Disease prevention and chosen to take a proactive approach management; to addressing Thoroughbred welfare b. Unresolved pain or stress; because it matters to the people The science behind our welfare responsible for their care. approach – the Five Domains c. Inappropriate nutrition; d. Inappropriate stabling or It matters because it fits with our Model of animal welfare transport conditions; and beliefs about how horses should be In addition to international racing e. Failure to meet a defined treated. We believe that it is acceptable conventions and the NZ legislative and Duty of Care regarding the to use horses as long as their use is regulatory environment, NZTR bases retirement, sale or other humane, that we have responsibilities our welfare vision for Thoroughbred disposal of a Thoroughbred. and a duty to care for horses. We racing on the Five Domains Model are also committed to seeking to of Animal Welfare9. This model is a Failure to meet these benchmarks will continuously improve Thoroughbred focusing device for defining optimal lead to required corrective measures welfare management. and minimal provisions, and has as provisioned under the Rules of successfully identified a range of Racing and/or the appropriate welfare It matters because horses are sentient husbandry, veterinary and equitation legislation. bonded animals; they can feel pain, impacts on horse welfare10. By adopting distress and anxiety. this model, NZTR aims to reduce avoidable negative experiences and ensure our horses enjoy ‘a life worth living’. 9 Mellor, D. Updating animal welfare thinking: Moving beyond the “Five Freedoms” towards “a Life Worth Living”. Animals 2016, 6. Available online here. 10 McGreevy, P. et al (2018). Using the Five Domains Model to assess the adverse impacts of husbandry, veterinary and equitation impacts on horse welfare. Animals 2018, 8, 41 doi:10:10.3390/ani8030041
THOROUGHBRED WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES 7 Behaviour Nutrition Able to express natural Enough water and food. and rewarding behaviours. Balanced and varied diet. Five Domains Model of Animal Welfare Health Environmental Healthy and fit. Physical environment Injuries appropriately comfortable and treated. pleasant. Mental or Affective State Comfortable in environment. Sociable contact and bonding with other animals. Close bond between horse and human. Figure 1: The Five Domains Model of Animal Welfare applied to Thoroughbred horses “The Five Domains Model is an aid to detailed assessment of Thoroughbred welfare. Its use facilitates systematic and thorough welfare evaluations by focusing attention on a wide range of specific factors that can have negative or positive welfare impacts. The internal functional states and external circumstances of the horse give rise to subjective experiences, which include feelings, emotions and moods, which are technically called ‘affects’. The welfare state of the horse reflects the overall balance of its negative and positive experiences at any particular time. Knowing what generates these experiences directs attention to what needs to be provided to the horse in order to minimise its negative experiences and to give it opportunities to have positive experiences. Practical welfare management therefore revolves around knowledgeable provision of resources, facilities and opportunities – collectively known as ‘provisions’ (see Table 1).” – Professor David Mellor
8 NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING The first three domains of the However, if there is no provision for • Secondly, experiences that are Model – nutrition, environment and shade or contact with another horse, associated with the horse’s health – focus on key elements of the drive to seek them will be thwarted. perception of its external the internal functioning of the horse We now know that behaviours such circumstances, captured by the that are essential for its survival. as windsucking, cribbing, weaving and behaviour domain. Thus, these domains draw attention pawing are not ‘naughty’ or learned to basic management provisions that by copying other horses; rather, they Thus, the first four domains all focus are necessary to meet horses’ innate could be an indication of frustration, attention on situations that contribute needs for sufficient food, water, shelter, boredom, health issues or management negative and positive experiences which health and safety (see Table 1). deficiencies. The ‘provision’ of are accumulated for consideration behavioural opportunities is the remedy in the fifth mental domain. Our The fourth domain – behaviour – for the deficiencies highlighted by this knowledge of the sources of different focuses on the extent to which the domain (Table 1). affects means that appropriate horse can express ‘agency’; i.e., management of specific provisions can the opportunities it has to exhibit The fifth domain – the mental state of be used to forestall welfare problems voluntary, self-generated behaviours to the Thoroughbred – focuses attention before they arise or correct problems achieve goals it finds rewarding. on negative and positive subjective that do arise. experiences (affects) of two main types: Thus, key provisions for this domain The manager of the horse needs to be • Firstly, those generated by the aim to make available opportunities cognisant of the signals that the horse functional conditions within the to have rewarding behaviours (Table provides regarding posture, demeanour, body, captured by the nutrition, 1). For example, this might include activity, vocalisation etc to indicate its environment and health domains; seeking shade or mutual grooming. mental state. and
THOROUGHBRED WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES 9 Provisions Animal Welfare Aims Good nutrition Minimise thirst and hunger Provide ready access to safe water and a diet adjusted to Enable eating to be a pleasurable experience maintain optimal health and fitness Good environment Minimise discomfort and exposure Provide suitable safe enclosures with room to move, shade, Promote thermal, physical, auditory, visual, atmospheric good air quality and comfortable resting areas and other comforts Good health Minimise negative experiences of ill-health Prevent or rapidly diagnose and treat disease, injury Promote pleasures of optimal health, fitness, and free and functional impairment, and foster good exercise exercise conditioning and free exercise Appropriate behaviour Minimise threats and unpleasant restrictions on behaviour Provide sufficient space, proper facilities, compatible Promote engagement in rewarding activities company and appropriately varied conditions to enable expression of normal behaviours Positive mental experiences Minimise boredom, anxiety, fear and loneliness Provide safe, compatible and appropriate opportunities to Promote various forms of comfort, pleasure, interest and have pleasurable experiences confidence Table 1: The five provisions and aligned animal welfare aims – specific to Thoroughbred horses 11, 12 11 Adapted from D.J. Mellor (2016). Moving beyond the ‘Five Freedoms’ by updating the ‘Five Provisions’ and introducing aligned ‘Animal Welfare Aims’. Animals 6(10), 55; doi:10.3390/ani6100059. 12 Adapted from D.J. Mellor (2017). Operational details of the Five Domains Model and its key applications to the assessment and management of animal welfare. Animals 7(8), 60; doi:10.3390/ani7080060.
10 NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING 1. Nutrition Minimum acceptable welfare conditions for Thoroughbreds may not Nutrition provided to Thoroughbreds be met in circumstances where: in racing and breeding is generally excellent, due to: • Insufficient quantities of food and • High levels of understanding of water are made available. the nutritional requirements for • Temperature, taste and or odour Thoroughbred racehorses of water discourage horses from • The benefits of the competitive drinking commercial feed market which has • Food quality is poor or unpalatable significantly improved nutritional or additives make the taste outcomes unpleasant • The generally good variety, quality • Regular eating patterns are and composition of feed disturbed • The usually very good variety and • Horses may indulge in voluntary quality of natural feed (including overeating grazing) when offered • Horses are not fed to meet their • The quantity of food offered being metabolic requirements generally appropriate for work • Horses are over-fat or very thin regime • Appropriate adjustments being Body condition score (BCS) assesses made for physiological stages and the thickness of subcutaneous fat of a environment horse is and is a useful indicator of the • Recognised good husbandry nutritional health of horses. BCS is well practices being deployed. recognised as an overall indicator of the nutritional health and requirements Desired or optimal welfare of a horse. NZTR expects that persons conditions would be provided where responsible for Thoroughbreds will Thoroughbreds have opportunities to: know how to monitor body condition • Drink enough water scores. • Eat enough food Factors other than nutrition that • Eat a balanced diet including contribute to body condition (i.e. sufficient natural fibre/roughage training workload, age, disease 2. Environment and essential trace minerals or thermal extremes) should be Stabling and the general environment • Eat a variety of foods aligned to considered when assessing different provided to New Zealand innate preferences classes of horses. For instance, Thoroughbreds in racing and breeding yearlings and horses in race training • Eat at a natural rate and timing would normally include the following will have less fat and a lower BCS • Eat correct quantities features: than broodmares and Thoroughbreds used for recreational riding. Horses • Safe containment of any age or occupation should be • Use of substantial and/or electric maintained between BCS 2-4. fencing to reinforce boundaries – Refer appendix C. providing social barriers, reducing injuries, protecting horses • Predictability and routine that ‘protects’ horses • Farms that are well set up to manage herd hierarchies • Pasture based management of mares and young stock which allows expression of natural behaviours
THOROUGHBRED WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES 11 • Stable and paddock management Desired or optimal welfare conditions Minimum acceptable welfare and maintenance that provide are achieved where Thoroughbreds are conditions for Thoroughbreds may not good hygiene provided stabling with: be met in circumstances which include: • Good air quality • Safe enclosures made from • Thermal extremes • Comfortable variation in light and appropriate materials with • Unsuitable ground surface temperature opportunities for shade and shelter • Sustained close confinement • Handling and husbandry of • A thermally comfortable • High levels of atmospheric transported horses which is environment pollutants (CO2, ammonia, dust, appropriate • Suitable ground surfaces in stables, smoke) • A licensing system backed up by yards and paddocks, and training • Unpleasant or strong odours stable inspections which enable and racing venues • Inappropriate light intensity conditions to be assessed by • Space for free movement Stipendiary Stewards. • Environmental monotony (ambient, • Fresh air physical, lighting) • Comfortable light intensity • Unpredictable noise or events • Acceptable noise exposure • Unsafe enclosures and risk for injury • Familiar routines and consistent • Exposure to toxic plants. environment • Familiarisation with normal activity
12 NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING 3. Health • The body and coat condition and 4. Behaviour foot care are appropriate In general, owners, breeders, trainers, The horse-human bond enables • Good fitness level, posture, jockeys, stablehands and farriers breeders, trainers, and handlers to demeanour and gait are apparent demonstrate a longstanding culture recognise the many subtle behavioural of good husbandry, including high cues that are indicators of welfare, Minimum acceptable welfare regard for the physical wellbeing of reinforced by: conditions may not be met in Thoroughbreds, demonstrated by: • Regular consistent contact which circumstances where Thoroughbreds • Expert equine veterinary care exhibit: builds familiarity with each • Industry training individual horse’s behaviour • Chronic conditions or infectious • Good regulatory control diseases • Daily interaction with horses which allows behaviours to be observed • Vet checks conducted before and • Acute or unmanaged chronic injury after a race to assess the horse’s or unsoundness • A culture of empathy and concern suitability to race for horse wellbeing • Extreme obesity or leanness • Conditioning (enhancing the • Horses having scheduled routines • Poor physical fitness and muscle horses’ fitness, confidence and of exercise, feed and rest de-conditioning competence) which is done • Horses having varied • Toxicity induced health problems appropriately for age and stage of environmental challenges and preparation Also, minimum acceptable welfare choices and opportunities for • Positive human-horse interaction conditions may not be met in engaging in rewarding behaviours conferring health benefits Thoroughbreds when: • Appropriately consistent training • Prevention of the spread of • Therapeutic substances are used and management (meeting contagious disease inappropriately, or prohibited the minimum requirements of substances are used in competition Part 6.1 of the Code of Welfare: Desired or optimal welfare Horses and Donkeys, but ideally conditions would be provided where using graduated learning Thoroughbreds are regularly observed training practices with positive and appropriately treated when reinforcement) necessary to ensure that: Desirable or optimal conditions or • Chronic injuries or conditions, and available opportunities that would acute or contagious disease are enhance the welfare of Thoroughbreds well managed include the following: • Acute injuries are well managed • Comfortable sensory inputs • Vaccinations are conducted in line • Engaging activities with Equine Vaccination Guidelines for NZ • Training based on graduated training practices supported by • Elective surgeries are expertly positive reinforcement of the conducted in line with regulations horse’s learning • Therapeutic substances are used appropriately
THOROUGHBRED WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES 13 • Opportunities for spontaneous free 5. Mental or affective state Minimum legal requirements movement Breeders, trainers and stablehands In addition to the provisions above, • Opportunities to respond to varied depend on healthy and willing horses, people in charge of Thoroughbreds and interesting environmental so they will regularly monitor their must also be familiar with minimum challenges mental state for: legal requirements under legislation • Opportunities for foraging and and regulation that relate to horses: • Alertness and engagement with browsing handlers • Opportunities to bond with other Animal Welfare Act 1999 • Appropriate energy levels for animals and with humans workload Code of Welfare: Horses and Donkeys • Opportunities to play • Willingness to work • Opportunities to use safe spaces, Code of Welfare: Transport within • Confidence and calmness retreat, or defensive activity New Zealand • The absence of signs of anxiety, • Having sufficient sleep and rest. fear or panic Animal Welfare (Care and Procedures) Minimum acceptable welfare • The absence of signs of pain, anger Regulations 2018 conditions may not be met in or frustration • s18 – Tethered horses need to be circumstances where Thoroughbreds provided access to food, water, exhibit the following behaviours: Desired or optimal welfare conditions shade and protections from for Thoroughbreds would be provided extremes of heat or cold; • Stereotypies where: • Resistance or lack of cooperation • s19 – Must ensure that equipment • Management provisions meet (halters, lead ropes, or other when worked or handled nutritional, environmental, health equipment does not cause cuts, • Lethargy and behavioural requirements abrasions, swelling or hinders • Exhaustion • Negative experiences are kept at normal breathing or drinking); and tolerably low levels • s20 – A horse must not be struck • Opportunities are available for on the head. positive experiences Minimum acceptable welfare conditions for Thoroughbreds may not be met in circumstances where: • Provision for nutritional, environmental, health and behavioural requirements have not been met • Horses have negative experiences that exceed tolerably low levels 13 • Horses have no or few opportunities for positive experiences 13 Note that the negative affects in the nutrition, environment and health domains (see Appendix A Figure 1) have roles in motivating horses to engage in specific behaviours that are essential for their survival, e.g., thirst leads to drinking water, hunger to eating, pain to escape from or avoidance of injury, etc. So, these negative experiences cannot be eliminated, but careful attention to the ‘provisions’ can keep them at tolerably low levels most of the time. Adjustment of the ‘provisions’ enables restoration to tolerable levels when e.g., ill-health or injury occur, and the intensity of the associated negative experiences increases.
THOROUGHBRED WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES 15 Section 2 – Welfare assessment guidelines for thoroughbred horses prior to racing Welfare in the first two years of • Breeders and trainers can access a the Thoroughbred life cycle high level of veterinary support and technical expertise to ensure horse The New Zealand Thoroughbred welfare. production cycle begins with the annual • While NZTR Rules of Racing do not foal crop in the Spring and progresses govern this juvenile stage of the to horses being prepared for yearling Thoroughbred life cycle, there are sales, and/or having a trial or race start, rules for the minimum age that a and/or being exported. At this stage of horse may start in racing, hurdle or the life cycle, there are few apparent steeplechase races. welfare issues: • Animal welfare codes (as noted Early life: Post-weaning on the prior page) regulate management practices such as Breeders and handlers are well aware branding, microchipping and of the challenges involved in weaning surgeries such as gelding. and manage the process to avoid stress and reduce the risk of injury or harm. • The industry is well organised and Thoroughbreds prepared and offered regulated with codes of practice, for sale as yearlings are carefully and health and safety processes. managed, conditioned and expertly • Thoroughbred breeders aim to cared for. produce healthy, sound horses with few heritable conformational Horses start in work between 18–24 or genetic problems. months after birth with a short period • Production efficiencies developed of general education and habituation to over the years have resulted the environment and routines of race in a higher proportion of foals training, followed by a spell. Training eventually becoming part of the of horses usually resumes with a ‘first racing population. preparation’, which may culminate in • New Zealand’s temperate climate a trial start that will enable trainers enables year-round pasture- and owners to assess each horse’s based management of breeding ability and likely racing career. Trainers, and young stock, contributing to handlers and jockeys are aware that optimal athletic development and young horses require understanding expression of natural behaviours. and patience. Training regimes are tailored to individual horses, and • There is a high level of horse horses are spelled if they are not coping handling and management physically or mentally with training. expertise, and many staff hold industry qualifications. • Long-standing and ongoing research provides insights into processes that contribute to better understanding, and consequently, improved practices.
THOROUGHBRED WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES 17 Section 3 – Welfare guidelines for thoroughbred racehorses NZTR has adopted the Thoroughbred The New Zealand Rules of Racing Welfare Guidelines formulated by contain provisions relating to the the International Group of Specialist principles within this document. Racing Veterinarians’ (IGSRV). These Guidelines provide a benchmark for These guidelines are reviewed welfare standards deemed acceptable periodically, provide a foundation for by NZTR and aim to provide clarity NZTR and racing industry regulation, and accountability around racehorse policy and initiatives, and form an welfare before, during, and also after additional basis for the general welfare racing. guidelines as outlined in Section 1 of this document. The key tenets of these Guidelines include the following: NZTR recognises and regulates the welfare of horses in racing through the • Reasonable steps should be taken Rules of Racing, and consistent with to prevent unnecessary pain and the IFHA Welfare Guidelines for Horses distress of racehorses in breeding, in racing, as contained in Appendix B. racing and training by ensuring Further to this, NZTR recognises the adequate care, a suitable diet, the primacy of the Animal Welfare Act and ability to exhibit normal behaviour, associated Codes and Regulations. appropriate housing, and protection from injury and disease. • While horse racing carries risks, reasonable steps should be taken to prevent avoidable risks and research should be undertaken to reduce risks, and to share this information between participants in horseracing. • In the context of these responsibilities it is recognised that properly conducted euthanasia can be a humane option for racehorses; for example, for individual horses with severe or chronic injuries, or where care would be inadequate, and long-term pain and distress is likely to be the result.
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THOROUGHBRED WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES 19 Section 4 – Welfare assessment guidelines for thoroughbreds in breeding The well-being of Thoroughbreds is the The NZTBA guidelines state: primary consideration of breeders who are committed to the enhancement • Horses should be provided with of the health and welfare of the appropriate amounts of food and Thoroughbreds in their care. have access to quality drinking water. The NZ Thoroughbred Breeders • Handling should accommodate the Association (NZTBA) regularly provides horse’s behaviour and be done in a its members with advice, education, calm manner. guidance and policy updates via • Horses should not be forced into newsletters, resources and information positions or situations which cause available to them on the NZTBA unnecessary pain, harm or injury website. and no horse should be abused. The NZTBA also supports equine • Horses should not be subjected to research, development and educational submissive techniques that injure projects through the NZ Equine or harm. Research Foundation (NZERF) and the • Sick and injured horses should be NZ Equine Trust as well as endorsing given appropriate care and medical updated equine health and biosecurity attention in a timely manner in information through the NZ Equine keeping with best practice. Where Health Association (NZEHA). necessary, veterinary advice should be sought. The NZTBA aims to provide members with information ensuring a standard of care well above the minimum standards and constantly promotes and encourages this through its guidelines.
20 NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING
THOROUGHBRED WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES 21 Section 5 – Welfare assessment guidelines for thoroughbred horses after racing Thoroughbred racehorses are retired rare occasions, potentially up to 12 between NZTR and Equestrian from racing by their owners for a months of active and skilled retraining Sport New Zealand to promote variety of reasons, because: for a horse to physiologically and Thoroughbreds in dressage, psychologically transition out of racing. show jumping, show hunter and • the horse does not show an initial eventing. desire or aptitude for racing, Many mares with commercial pedigrees • Also, the NZ Show Horse Council • the horse has progressed to a are recruited into the broodmare runs a series for Off the Track point where it struggles to be population when they are retired from Thoroughbreds in showing. competitive, racing. Outside the racing industry, Thoroughbred dams can also be utilised NZTR has jurisdiction over horses in • it is relocated to a stud for to improve sport horse breeds, or racing, with the Owner(s) and Racing breeding, occasionally as surrogate dams. When Managers able to be held responsible • it is disabled, injured or lame, or it is necessary (unresolvable injuries or and accountable for not meeting the • of its age or the owners wish to unmanageable temperament), horses requirements, as outlined in the Rules relocate the horse to a retirement may be euthanised. of Racing and these guidelines. paddock. Off the track Thoroughbreds may be NZTR does not have jurisdiction over The most common outcome for retired sold for a nominal sum. A low value adopters and anyone else in charge racehorses is rehoming, with the horse may attract adopters who may of the care of a Thoroughbred after potential for horses to have a ‘good not have the financial capability to retired from racing, unless those life’ for decades in a second career. provide sustained adequate care. This persons are licenced by NZTR or Thoroughbred horses are well suited creates the potential for poor welfare deemed an accountable person under for other equestrian disciplines because outcomes. The average cost of keeping the Rules of Racing. Where NZTR lacks they are relatively young, intelligent, a recreational sport horse in New jurisdiction, the compliance framework athletic and attractive animals (see Zealand is significant ($12,000pa), so and enforcement are addressed in Appendix D for a list of possible potential adopters must be realistic animal and equine welfare legislation ‘second careers’). NZTR endorses and about their financial ability to support and regulation (principally the Animal promotes rehoming of Thoroughbreds a horse. Welfare Act and the Code of Welfare: after racing where it is possible and Horses and Donkeys). appropriate. NZTR also supports initiatives that celebrate the achievements of Some racing jurisdictions promote Retraining ensures a greater likelihood Thoroughbred racehorses in their a ‘full circle’ approach, whereby one of better future homes and is an second careers. owner takes responsibility for the effective way to minimise any potential Thoroughbred in retirement. This may welfare problems arising from the • Beyond the Barriers has a website be regarded as an improvement in the transition out of racing. Having started providing support and information retiree management for the industry under saddle, racehorses are prepared for adopters, and sponsorship but is not a guarantee of good welfare specifically to race, but in the right for various events that involve outcomes. hands are usually very adaptable Thoroughbreds, including the to training and learning new skills. Dunstan Ex-Factor competition If owners are to take responsibility for Racehorses are adapted to sometimes and showcase for Thoroughbreds retired Thoroughbreds, they should specific high-energy diets, and to some within 12 months of leaving racing have the required knowledge, skills, extent, will need to learn to forage or which is held at Equidays each year. support and resources to provide a find water from natural sources, or to Further, Beyond the Barriers also ‘good life’ in retirement for their horse. negotiate and utilise natural terrain conducts horse and rider clinics. NZTR is able to provide education for protection from bad weather. It • Thoroughbreds in Equestrian materials such as these guidelines. may take as little as a few days, or on Sports (TiES) is a joint project
22 NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING Deliberate neglect and abuse are rare, that need to be actively managed g) Responsibility of Adopters so the problem is more one of benign or may make the horse unsuitable Prospective adopters or purchasers neglect due to inadequate knowledge. for the anticipated use. of retired racehorses straight from However, neglect – even if unintended d) Decisions around Retirement training should be aware of the – is not an acceptable condition for If the trainer is not the need to manage the transition out retired Thoroughbred racehorses. Accountable Person or Racing of racing and consider their ability Manager, they should be involved to achieve this successfully. If when considering which option is they do not have this ability, they Responsibilities and processes should seek support and guidance best for the horse. The trainer’s to ensure good horse welfare knowledge from their working from a capable source. when retiring Thoroughbreds relationship with the horse during Adopters should also consider from racing training will be useful when their financial ability and the making a decision. resources required to provide a) Duty of Care e) Retraining adequate care for horses. The duty of care to ensure that the horse is treated in a way The Racing Manager or h) Euthanasia (humane death of the that enables it to transition to a Accountable Person could consider retired horse) second career. Responsibility will retraining by a capable person to Adopters should consider ultimately lie with the new owner, transition the horse to a career euthanasia if injury, temperament, but prior to a potential transfer of after racing. illness, age or other conditions ownership, the person in charge f) Assessing Adopters and negatively affect the physical of the horse (the vendor) needs Purchasers welfare or mental state of the to satisfy him/herself that the The Racing Manager or horse they have adopted. This will person intending to own the horse Accountable Person has a not be an easy decision, but the possesses the competence and responsibility to assess prospective need to avoid suffering of the horse resources necessary for the horse’s purchasers or adopters if the horse must outweigh personal feelings future well-being. is being rehomed straight from and loss of companionship. training. The Owner or Racing Anyone that euthanises, or b) Traceability Manager should consider the arranges the euthanasia of a The Racing Manager or match of the horse’s temperament retired Thoroughbred: Accountable Person must promptly submit the SR24 Death with the skills, resources and i. must ensure that the or Retirement form within one capability of the prospective euthanasia is carried out either month of a horse dying or being adopter. by: retired from racing. If the Racing Manager or a. intravenous injection by a Anyone who euthanises, or Accountable Person is not satisfied veterinarian; or arranges the euthanasia of a that the person would provide proper care of the horse they b. by a veterinarian or retired Thoroughbred, should notify NZTR of the death. should decide against proceeding another person who is with a sale or adoption of the competent in the use of All Thoroughbreds are traceable horse. captive bolt or firearm, in via permanent identification in the compliance with Schedule form of a brand on the shoulder NZTR acknowledges that whilst III of the Code of Welfare: and/or a microchip and or DNA resale of horses through public Horses and Donkeys, and hair samples. This identification auction is a legitimate means links to individual horse of securing a new owner for ii. notify NZTR of the death. registration with NZTR. a horse, this diminishes the ability of the vendor to assess c) Responsibility to communicate the appropriateness of the The Racing Manager or purchaser. NZTR will seek to work Accountable Person must with auction houses to develop communicate to any adopter appropriate safeguards on behalf the temperament and physical of vendors. condition of the horse, including any injuries or chronic conditions
24 NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING Appendix A The 5 Domains Model for Equine Welfare HORSE WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDE This guide is an adaptation of the Five Domains Model of Welfare Assessment and Monitoring that shows how it can be applied to achieve good horse welfare. The model has four physical or functional domains and a mental domain that acknowledges the horse’s experience. The aim for providing good welfare is to achieve physical and functional well-being, as well as give horses the opportunity to experience positive emotions in all areas: nutrition, health, environment, behaviour and interactions with humans. Nutrition Health The physical domain The physical domain Restrictions: Opportunities: Minimum Signs of ill-health: Signs of health: standard of Minimum Disease (acute, chronic) Little or no disease Not enough water Drink enough water Care Injury (acute, chronic, surgery) Little or no injuries standard of Not enough food Poor quality food Eat enough food Eat a balanced diet Functional impairment (due Little or no dysunctional Care Lack of food variety Eating correct quantities to limb, lung, heart, kidney, body systems Eat a variety of foods neural or other problems). Well nourished Poisons Body condition is Obesity/leanness appropriate Poor physical fitness (muscle Good fitness level The mental domain de-conditioning) Negative experience: Positive experiences: The mental domain Thirst Wetting/quenching and Welfare Negative experience: Positive experience: Hunger (general) Hunger (salt) the pleasure of drinking The pleasure of different Breathlessness Comfort of good health Welfare Malnutrition, malaise tastes, smells and textures Pain (many types) and a high functional Bloated, over full The pleasure of salt taste Debility, weakness capacity Colic (gastrointestinal The pleasure of chewing for long periods Sickness, malaise Vitality and fitness pain), gastric ulcers Post prandial satiety (comfortably full) Nausea Gastrointestinal comfort Dizziness Physical exhaustion As well as providing for the physical and behavioural needs, how many positive experiences can you make available to your horse on a daily basis? Environment Behaviour and human interaction The physical domain The physical domain Restrictions: Opportunities: Agency is impeded: Agency: Thermal extremes Thermally tolerable Minimum Barren environment Varied, novel, Unsuitable footing Suitable footing standard of Choices markedly restricted engaging Minimum Care standard of Confinement Space for free movement Constraints on environment- environmental challenges Pollutants and odours Fresh air focused activities (exploration, Free movement Care Noise Noise acceptable grazing) Exploration Monotony - ambient, Normal environmental Constraints on horse-to-horse Foraging lighting variety interactions. Bonding Sleep/rest deprivation Rearing young, sexual behaviour Training confusion Sufficient sleep/rest Inconsistent human interaction Consistent, clear training The mental domain Negative experience: Positive experience: The mental domain Discomfort due to: Comfort: Negative experience: Positive experience: Chilling, overheating Thermal Welfare Welfare Physical pain, skin Physical Frustration, loneliness Calm, engaged, in control irritation, muscle stiffness Respiratory Boredom, helplessness Affectionate sociability and tension. Olfactory, visual Depression Maternally rewarded, sexual Breathlessness, auditory Herd living Sexual frutstration gratification, playfullness impairment, eye strain Variety related comfort Anxiety, fear, panic, anger Secure, protected, confident, Malaise from unnatural Neophobia likes novelty, energised constancy Exhaustion Adapted by Cristina Wilkins, Horses and People Magazine, in collaboration with NZ Thoroughbred Racing, from Mellor, D.J. (2017). Operational details of the Five Domains Model and its key applications to the assessment and management of animal welfare. Animals 7(8), 60. doi: 10.3390/ani7080060 Figure 1: How optimal and minimal provisions for nutrition, environment, health and behaviour contribute to the mental state of Thoroughbreds14 14 Adapted from D.J. Mellor (2017). Operational details of the Five Domains Model and its key applications to the assessment and management of animal welfare. Animals 7(8), 60; doi:10.3390/ani7080060.
THOROUGHBRED WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES 25 Domain Challenge or Measure Nutrition Sufficient energy intake to maintain body condition for winter outdoors Calcium: Phosphorus ratios balanced Sufficient carbohydrate/protein in weanling/yearling ration to achieve growth Identification and management of toxic plants Environment Appropriate shelter and rugging during winter Stock and pasture management to minimize slippery terrain and mud in winter Safe enclosures Transport – safety during loading and unloading, and periodic access to food and drink while transported Health Adverse heritable conditions and conformational traits Injuries which are difficult to detect Surgeries (bone chips, gelding) Well maintained and knowledgeably fitted equipment and saddlery to avoid pain or pressure points Diagnosis and treatment of gut ulcers Allergens and pathogens managed at pasture Appropriate cycle of training workload and rest training to ensure optimal musculoskeletal development Behaviour Managing changes in interaction with humans at weaning and start of work Requirement for play (foals and weanlings) or other daily interaction with other horses Recognition of stereotypies that indicate unmet needs Habituation and training to deal with novel and new experiences and environments Balance between variety and ability to cope with new situations and objects Enablement of spontaneous or managed exercise movement to induce optimal musculoskeletal development in foals through to yearlings Sufficient sleep and rest Limits on threat avoidance, escape and defensive activity in herd Mental state Distress, fear, anxiety at weaning Transport – initial stress reduced by familiarization, travel with companions Managing transitions to new experiences and environments (avoiding neophobia) Table 2: Using the Five Domains to identify potential challenges to optimal welfare for Thoroughbred horses (illustrative examples):
26 NEW ZEALAND THOROUGHBRED RACING Appendix B Welfare Guidelines in relation to horses in racing (based on IFHA guidelines) 1. At all stages during c) Shoeing 2. Horses should be suitably the preparation and Horseshoes and racing plates must conditioned and healthy be designed and fitted to minimise presentation of horses for before being allowed to race the risk of injury. Shoes used in racing, welfare should be a racing must be included in the a) Veterinary Examinations primary consideration NZTR Register of Notifiable Gear. A veterinary examination must be a) Good Horse Management d) Transport undertaken of any horse showing The housing, feeding and training The risk of injury and disease must signs of disease, lameness or of racehorses should be consistent be minimised when racehorses other ailments to determine its with good horse management and are transported. Vehicles should suitability to race. must not compromise welfare. be purpose built, safe, clean, well b) Immaturity Any practices whether in stables, ventilated, regularly maintained Horses mature at widely different training or racing which are and disinfected. rates. Training and racing inconsistent with legislative Long journeys must be planned schedules should be carefully requirements, nor with the carefully, and horses should be planned to minimise the risk of minimum provisions outlined in allowed regular rest periods musculoskeletal injuries. Section 1 of this document, must and access to water and feed as c) Surgical Procedures not be tolerated and may lead necessary. Respiratory problems Any surgical procedure which to penalties, as stipulated in the arising from transport can often be compromises the welfare or safety NZTR Rules of Racing. reduced if horses are able to lower of any horse or rider must not be Industry training programmes their heads to ground level during allowed. Refer to Rules 345 and should contain components on rest periods. 650 (NZTR Rules of Racing) animal welfare relevant to the d) Severe or Recurrent Conditions role performed by the person • Horses with severe or receiving the training. Audits of recurrent clinical conditions Thoroughbreds under the control should, on veterinary advice, of licensed trainers should be be temporarily or permanently undertaken by the RIU or other excluded from racing. Without officers mandated by NZTR, or limitation, two specific officers mandated by legislation. examples are: b) Training Methods for Racehorses • Two instances of nasal Pre-training and training bleeding caused by exercise methods which unreasonably induced pulmonary influence the normal behaviour haemorrhage (EIPH) (Rule of racehorses should not be 651); and used. Horse training schedules • Cardiac arrhythmia (Link: should include graduated learning NZTR Directive) training practices with positive reinforcement, adjusted to the e) Pregnant Mares horse’s physical capabilities and Mares must not be raced beyond level of maturity. 120 days of pregnancy.
THOROUGHBRED WELFARE ASSESSMENT GUIDELINES 27 3. Conditions of racing should e) Medication 4. Racehorses should receive not prejudice horse welfare One purpose of the rules proper attention after they controlling medication is to a) Racecourse Conditions have raced and be treated protect the welfare of the horse Racecourses and racing surfaces and the safety of riders. After any humanely when their racing should be designed and maintained veterinary treatment, sufficient careers are over to reduce risk factors which may time should be allowed for a) Veterinary Treatment lead to injuries. Attention should recuperation before competition. When a horse is injured during a be paid to running rails, crossings, Drugs must not be allowed to race, the jockey must dismount. A and the provision of good and modify the racing performance of registered veterinarian must be in consistent running surfaces. the horse, adversely impact on its attendance on the racecourse at b) Steeplechasing and Hurdling welfare or conceal adverse genetic race meetings and official barrier Participation in these races should or acquired conditions. (NZTR trials. Injured horses must be given be restricted to horses with a Prohibited Substances Regulations) appropriate first aid. A suitable demonstrated level of fitness f) Starting Gates / Barriers vehicle for moving injured horses and jumping ability. Weights to Horses should be educated to be from the racetrack should be made be carried, race distances, and familiar with loading procedures. available. If required, an injured the number, size, design and Barriers should be properly horse should be transported to the placement of fences should all be designed and safe. Aids to loading nearest referral centre for further carefully assessed when planning must be humane and used assessment and therapy. these races. appropriately. b) Racing Injuries c) Extreme Weather g) Racecourse accommodation The incidence of injuries sustained Due care and attention should be Stabling and sampling facilities in racing and training should be paid to the welfare of horses racing for horses on racecourses should monitored wherever possible. Track in extreme weather. Provision must be safe, clean and well-ventilated. conditions, frequency of racing, be made to cool horses quickly Suitable drinking and washing- age and any other risk factors, after racing in hot and/or humid down water must always be should be carefully examined to conditions. available. Safe facilities for loading indicate ways to minimise the risk d) Misuse of the Whip and unloading horses should be of injury. Excessive, unnecessary or improper provided. c) Euthanasia use of whips is not condoned, for If injuries are sufficiently severe, example, on a horse that is clearly an injured horse may need to be out of contention, a horse that is euthanised. If after evaluation fatigued and unable to respond, euthanasia is deemed necessary, or a horse clearly winning. (NZTR it should be undertaken as soon Whip Directive) as possible with the sole aim of minimising suffering.
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