Owners Must Report Racehorse Retirement

New rule in Australia designed to direct education, welfare initiatives.

Owners will be required to report the retirement of racing Thoroughbreds within 30 days under a new rule adopted by the Australian Racing Board.

The ARB said July 1 the rule makes it "compulsory" for owners to report a Thoroughbred's retirement, with the managing owner responsible for "advising the reason for their horse's retirement and their plans for the horse beyond its racing career."

Owners must indicate why the horse was retired—illness, injury, or for breeding purposes—and whether it will have a new home as an equestrian or pleasure horse, enter an official retirement program, or be sent to a livestock sale.

The ARB also said it has strengthened a rule that requires trainers to report the death of a Thoroughbred. They now will be asked to report the cause of death.

The new requirements "will provide the industry with greater insight into the reasons why horses conclude their racing careers, as well as their activities post-racing, thus supplying statistics which can be used to better direct education and welfare initiatives," the ARB said in a press release.

"These important enhancements to the rules of racing will provide access to information about why racehorses are retired as well as details about their life after racing," said Dr. Brian Stewart, head of equine welfare and veterinary services for Racing Victoria. "The rule is something that Racing Victoria has actively campaigned for, and we welcome the ARB's decision to introduce it on a national level. The rule complements the range of initiatives we're undertaking to manage the welfare of our equine athletes."

Stewart said the policy will assist Racing Victoria in administration of its program for the retraining and re-homing of retired Thoroughbreds.