Australia’s racehorse breeding levy to fund equine health projects

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Australian racemare Winx.
Australian racemare Winx.

A new levy on thoroughbred breeders that is matched dollar-for-dollar by the Australian government will support research into racehorse injuries and equine health initiatives.

The industry levy began in September 2017 and is set at a rate of $10 per mare covered per season, paid by the stallion owner and $10 per mare returned per season, paid by the broodmare owner.

Managed by AgriFutures Australia, the Thoroughbred R&D Levy will be allocated to research which is identified as a priority by levy payers and is included in an five-year Research, Development and Extension (RD&E) plan.

About $400,000 is expected to be collected from the levy each year and the Australian Government will match expenditure by AgriFutures Australia dollar-for-dollar on eligible Thoroughbred RD&E.

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Australia’s new Thoroughbred R&D Levy is expected to net $400,000 each year.

There are 21,500 broodmares and 700 stallions in the Australian Thoroughbred industry, which includes a mix of small-scale owners representing the grassroots and also high-end individuals and international entities.

“The concept is to use research to address real life problems in the Thoroughbred industry from breeding mares to racing horses to post-race careers,” said Professor Nigel Perkins, who led the RD&E plan development.

Perkins is the inaugural Thoroughbred Advisory Panel Chair and an internationally recognised leader in veterinary epidemiology.

The first two project  is measurement of the economic benefit of the thoroughbred breeding and racing sectors and the second is understanding the factors that influence horse well-being from pregnancy to racing.

“These are the foundation projects that will guide the panel,” Perkins said.

“Information from these two projects, which complement each other, will help the panel understand the priorities for future research.”

Key objectives of the RD&E plan are to:

  • improve breeding outcomes and foal health and development
  • reduce the incidence and impact of diseases and parasites in horses
  • improve the safety of industry participants and the welfare of horses and enhance the sustainability of the industry
  • promote education and training for the horse industry
  • support industry planning, economic benefit studies and market research
  • reduce injury and breakdown of horses
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