Racing vets threaten to end involvement in industry over licensing

Some Australian veterinarians will end their involvement with racing should the industry body in New South Wales press ahead with plans to licence vets.

Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA), a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association, says that the licence could impact both veterinary services and the racing industry as a whole.

“Many of our members have told us they will have no choice but to end their involvement with racing rather than agree to a draconian and unfair licence when they are already regulated by the government,” EVA vice-president Dr Ian Fulton said.

“There are 140 race clubs in rural and regional New South Wales that are likely to be affected.

“Many vets contribute to their local race club on race day as a community service and will no longer be willing to do so if the proposed licensing system becomes a reality.”

The group said it was time for the state’s ministers for racing and primary industries to act to prevent what it said would be potentially damaging consequences of the new licensing regime to be imposed on racing veterinarians from July 1.

Fulton said vets were already licensed by the New South Wales Veterinary Practitioners Board and the terms of the licence proposed by Racing NSW were unfair.

“Under the terms of the licence, Racing NSW can revoke a vet’s licence at any time and for no reason. This could have a profound impact on a vet’s livelihood without fair and just review processes.

“The licence conditions also forbid vets from making public comments concerning any matter that the racing stewards are dealing with. This would restrict a vet’s professional obligation to speak up when an animal’s welfare is at stake.”

EVA members were concerned for the future of racing if a second licence were to be introduced by Racing NSW.

“It’s the job of the NSW Veterinary Practitioners Board and the Racing Board to come together and work out a suitable resolution that’s fair and reasonable,” Fulton said.

“We call on the Minister for Racing and the Minister for Primary Industries to make this happen as a matter of urgency.”

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