The RSPCA has welcomed today’s announcement from the federal Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud, of $1.1 million in funding towards establishing national traceability arrangements for horses.
A national traceability register, which allows all horses to be tracked from birth to death, is essential to ensuring good welfare for horses, including those that have left the racing industry.
There is significant community concern about the welfare of horses in the racing industry, and a growing awareness that horses retiring from the industry may be at risk and that their welfare should be a priority concern for governments and industry.
The Australian Government funding will support the work being done by the National Horse Traceability Working Group, which was established in 2019 following a Senate committee report.
It also follows an exposé on ABC 7.30 in October 2019 on the fate of ex-racing horses in Australia, and the upswell of community outrage that resulted from this.
A national traceability register would also assist in the management of and communication during emergencies, including disease outbreaks and natural disasters. In addition, the registry would be integral to locating owners of horses who have been neglected or are suspected of being abandoned.
The RSPCA also calls on the Working Group to ensure that any traceability system is based on a central national database, with individual identification for horses via microchip.