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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Scared into Doing the Right Thing

Well, apparently in New South Wales, horsemen of both codes (thoroughbred and standardbred) heard the message real clearly when the Government shut the greyhounds down over cruelty issues.

Today, Horse Racing NSW, which represents the runners announced a program where 1% of all prize money will go to a program to retrain and place thoroughbreds whose days on the track are over.  This A$2 million will be used for re-training, vet expenses, and working with other groups on the benefits of re-homing thoroughbreds.

The standardbred industry, in particular Harness Racing NSW has yet to finalize their program but it is expected to also include a levy on prize money, perhaps the same 1% figure.

This is not to say the industries didn't promote rescue efforts in the past, but seeing an entire racing segment eliminated with the stroke of a pen certainly woke up both codes into more action.  It is a shame the two codes couldn't work together to come up with a single program which would be more cost effective.

Meanwhile, back on these shores, the thoroughbred industry has a program in place to take care of retired race horses, but sadly the standardbred industry lags behind.  Other than patchwork efforts funded to various degrees, there is very little done.  There was a proposal to charge a $10 starting fee to go to standardbred rescue and I am sure it doesn't surprise anyone this proposal went nowhere fast.  My guess is as with the horsemen in NSW,  the only way the standardbred industry is going to get together and put a unified program together with a reliable funding source will be when the cows fly or there is a "Come to Jesus" moment (in a secular sense).

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