Drivers of exit and outcomes for Thoroughbred racehorses participating in the 2017-2018 Australian racing season.
AuthorShrestha, K; Gilkerson, JR; Stevenson, MA; Flash, ML
Source TitlePLoS One
PublisherPublic Library of Science (PLoS)
Document TypeJournal Article
CitationsShrestha, K., Gilkerson, J. R., Stevenson, M. A. & Flash, M. L. (2021). Drivers of exit and outcomes for Thoroughbred racehorses participating in the 2017-2018 Australian racing season.. PLoS One, 16 (9), pp.e0257581-. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0257581.
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access at PMChttp://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8454983
The destinations of Thoroughbred (TB) racehorses exiting the racing industry is a high-profile issue with ethical and welfare implications of interest to both animal welfare groups and racing regulators. This cross-sectional study investigated the reasons that TBs temporarily or permanently exited racing and training in Australia in the 2017-2018 racing season and the outcomes for these horses post-racing. An online questionnaire was sent to the last registered trainers of a representative sample of 2,509 'inactive' TBs. Inactive horses were defined as those horses that were recorded as 'active' but had not trialled or raced in the last 6 months of the racing season or had an inactive status recorded in the Racing Australia database. Of the 1,750 responses received, the largest group of inactive TBs had permanently exited the racing industry (45% retired, 5.3% deceased). A relatively large group exited racing temporarily (43%) but participated in the racing industry in the following season. The reasons for retirement were predominantly voluntary, such as poor performance or owner's request. Almost one third of retirements were due to injuries with tendon or ligament problems the most frequently conditions listed. The median age at retirement was five (Q1 4; Q3 7) years. Extrapolation of the survey results to the population of horses racing or training in Australia in 2017-2018 (n = 37,750) show that that 17% of the population retire each year and 2.1% die. These estimates provide benchmarks for industry and animal welfare organisations to resource and measure the effectiveness of interventions.
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