Australian Racehorse Wastage Evaluated
More than one-third of racehorses leave the industry every year due to factors including injury and poor performance, a phenomenon known as “wastage.” But one Australian research group believes improved training, breeding, and behavior management could lead to reduced wastage and a greater proportion of “viable” horses.
“If—and it’s a mighty big ‘if’—we could reduce wastage that results from unwelcome behavior, then maybe horses would be considered viable for longer and, thus, less disposable,” said Paul McGreevy, BVSc, PhD, MRCVS, MACVS (Animal Welfare), Cert CABC, animal behavior and welfare science professor at the University of Sydney.
The Thoroughbred breeding industry operates on turnover, meaning it relies on a certain number of horses leaving the track, McGreevy said. At the same time, industry members know that roughly half the foals born won’t make it to the track at all, he said. While this culture of overbreeding might work for the industry’s financial models, McGreevy said it isn’t necessarily conducive to good equine welfare.
“If we were ever to make all the horses high-performance with low risk of injury and optimal behavior, there would indeed still be too many horses, but they’d be more viable,” McGreevy said. “With the right feedback and the right demand for ethical sustainable racing, this formula could conceivably arrest some of the
Create a free account with TheHorse.com to view this content.
Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with