MEDIA RELEASE – Tasracing plan to address vet shortage in Tasmania

Friday 5 May 2023

Tasracing will assist Tasmanian veterinary practices to attract veterinary staff with racing experience to the state via the payment of an annual stipend.

CEO Andrew Jenkins said this financial incentive was designed to make Tasmania more competitive than interstate jurisdictions for veterinary surgeons to work and live.

“Across the country Australia is suffering from a critical shortage of veterinarians – an issue that we have been working to address in a Tasmanian context for some time,” he said.

“We acknowledge that this shortage has the potential to adversely impact the welfare of racing animals in Tasmania.”

Mr Jenkins said he was aware that the Longford Equine Clinic in the state’s north may be forced to close given its inability to recruit new vets.

“Longford is a major training centre for racehorses,” he said.

“Attracting and retaining vets is critical to maintaining high standards of animal welfare.”

Tasracing Chief Veterinary & Animal Welfare Officer Dr Martin Lenz said the fact that the deadly Hendra virus had never been diagnosed in Tasmania was also a positive for any vet contemplating relocating to Tasmania.

“Any time equine vets working interstate, particularly on the east coast, treat a sick horse they must consider the possibility of Hendra virus, which is deadly to horses and humans,” he said.

“While normal biosecurity precautions must always be applied when dealing with sick horses, the fact that Hendra virus has never been diagnosed in Tasmania removes some of the constraints equine vets working here would face.”