Racing Queensland CEO Eliot Forbes delivered an important address on animal welfare this week at the International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses (IFAR) in Washington.
The Forum was held in conjunction with the Pan American Conference, an event which attracted leading racing administrators from around the world.
Dr Forbes, the former Chief Veterinary for the world’s richest race, the $10m Dubai World Cup, is passionate about the welfare of horses and was invited to address the forum on harmonisation of rules of racing for owners, non-racing agreements, first exit out of training and lifetime traceability.
“I was honored to speak at the conference as I want to do everything I can to help raise the level of care of horses all around the world. I am particularly concerned with the lifetime traceability of thoroughbreds and that was one of the key issues I spoke about," Dr Forbes said.
“IFAR is committed to raising awareness of aftercare issues and we believe that all racing nations need to implement measures to improve welfare outcomes for horses leaving the racing industry.
“Another area I am focussing on is the promotion of the thoroughbred racehorses for equestrian events so horses can have an active life after racing.
“That was one of the reasons I was so pleased that RQ could support the Aquis Racehorse Retraining Triequithon earlier this year in Brisbane.
“This colourful and engaging event highlighted the beauty and ability of Off The Track thoroughbred horses in their second careers in the equestrian world.”
In Australia nearly 70% of race horses that retire from the track each year find a new career competing as equestrian horses, pleasure horses or as companion animals.
A further 20% enter the breeding industry.
Dr Forbes, who addressed the conference in Washington on Wednesday, is Chairman of Racing Australia’s national Retirement of Racehorses Committee, and is a member of the Veterinary and Analysts committees of each code of racing while also serving as a member of Harness Racing Australia’s Standardbred Welfare Advisory Group.