The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, made up of industry organizations and individuals, has released a preliminary code of standards for aftercare organizations and is accepting comments on the document through April 2.
The code outlines standards for five areas, officials said March 28.
Operations: Accredited organizations must demonstrate operational stability; financial transparency; sound and ethical business practices; responsible use of resources; and adherence to applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations.
Education: Accredited organizations should work cooperatively with the Thoroughbred racing community to share media resources and increase public awareness of Thoroughbred aftercare throughout the horseracing industry.
Horse healthcare management: All facilities used by the organization, including foster farms, shall provide the necessary care needed to ensure that each horse’s physical needs are being met. Qualified staff members or volunteers should work directly with a veterinarian to create a balanced health care management plan for the type of horses under their care.
Facility standards and services: Facility requirements will be assessed based on the type of horses in the organization’s care, such as horses on permanent retirement, horses being rehabilitated, and horses receiving training for a second career. All facilities must provide a safe environment that meets the physical and psychological needs of each horse under their care.
Adoption policies and protocols: Organizations whose mission involves adoption and/or foster care of their horses should have set policies to ensure proper placement of each horse and to provide follow-up after a horse has been adopted out.
The TAA is currently being overseen by Mike Ziegler, executive director of the National Thoroughbred Racing Association Safety and Integrity Alliance. The TAA has said it plans to hire staff.
“The code of standards is the foundation of the accreditation process, which will ensure that facilities are suited to provide the level of care that our retired Thoroughbreds deserve,” said Ziegler, the interim executive director. “We urge all interested parties to review the code and share their thoughts with us.”
The Safety and Integrity Alliance uses a code of standards, updated each year, to accredited racetracks.
Comments can be submitted via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. The code of standards is available here.