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In being an immediate success, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group has received some 160 submissions on the wellbeing of thoroughbred horses, especially in racing and breeding.

Headed by former Victorian Premier Dr Denis Napthine, the TAWWG was ‘very pleased’ on the ‘improvements’ submissions made by prominent trainers, owners, breeders and race clubs.

It’s submissions also came from welfare groups, veterinarians, equine re-trainers, researchers and the general public, in addition to those made by Racing Australia and each principal racing authority.

‘The working group has been very impressed and pleased with the standard and the sheer number of submissions that have been lodged,’ reported Dr Napthine.

‘It is clear that there is a real appetite from both within and outside the thoroughbred industry to look at how welfare can be improved.’

Established in February by Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, Australian Trainers’ Association, and Australian Jockeys’ Association the TAWWG was also supported by leading industry stakeholders.

In June the TAWWG released an Issues Paper on key horse welfare topics and called for general opinions on improving the wellbeing of thoroughbred horses, especially those leaving the racing and breeding industry.

‘I can assure everyone who made a submission that they are all being read by the panel and will be given consideration as we go through our work,’ added Dr Napthine.

‘There have been lots of suggestions, ideas and insights in the more than thousand pages of documents we have received. I’ve been particularly pleased with the range of viewpoints that have been put forward and many different voices heard.’

‘We are now engaged in meetings with some of those who wrote to us, and with other key local and international stakeholders and experts, to further explore the many issues, ideas, suggestions and considerations as we begin to shape our report and its recommendations.’

The four member TAWWG panel is expected to publish its results later in the Spring, and has already held some 20 consultative meetings with more scheduled in September and October.

The TAWWG mission is seeking to ‘why do 28% of horses do not enter racing and what is the fate of those of not entering training,’ amongst other questions for the issue of Thoroughbred Production.

For Good Horse Welfare it’s ‘fundamental to the consideration of the welfare of thoroughbred horses is an understanding of how to define, assess or even measure the welfare of a horse,’ amongst others.

In Thoroughbred Traceability its ‘who should pay to establish and maintain a national horse traceability register, and who should initiate and manage this register.’

On Sponsored Programs for Retirement in Racing and Breeding, it’s first question is ‘what programs have been most effective in improving opportunities, and welfare outcomes post racing or bedding.’

In considering Regulation the panel key question ‘is the current horse welfare regulatory framework adequate,’ and ‘what improvements could be made to the legislation.’

On the old aged issue of Research and Development it’s ‘what research is the highest priority to improve the life-long welfare of thoroughbred horses.’

Finally, tender issue of Humane Horse Processing Facilities asks ‘would you consider the processing of horses for pet or human consumption acceptable, if there were adequate and enforceable provisions that ensured that horses at processing facilities were treated in a humane and ethical manner,’

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