Tasracing response to RSPCA criticism

Tuesday 15 August 2023

Tasracing CEO Andrew Jenkins said Tasracing had requested and convened a meeting recently with the RSPCA which was attended by CEO Jan Davis.

“We are very surprised, given the positive way the parties engaged at the meeting, but ultimately disappointed that Ms Davis appears unwilling to work with Tasracing on our ongoing effort to ensure animal welfare outcomes for our racing animals are continually being enhanced,” he said.

“I also reject any suggestion from Ms Davis that Tasracing needs to have greater accountability and transparency. Tasracing’s commitment to animal welfare is clearly outlined in its annual report. We also publish racing injury statistics on a monthly basis,” he said.

“I understand the RSPCA has inspected properties in question of late on multiple occasions, which makes the criticism even harder to understand.”

Mr Jenkins said he was not concerned about animal activist “noise”, rejected any suggestion that the industry was in “crisis” and was satisfied that the vast majority of racing industry participants did the right thing, more broadly and in an animal welfare context.

Mr Jenkins said Tasracing had this year appointed Dr Martin Lenz to the newly created position of Chief Veterinary and Animal Welfare Officer.

“One of his principal roles has been to provide advice and services to Tasracing and the broader Tasmanian racing industry regarding the delivery of racing animal welfare and veterinary services. He is also leading Tasracing’s drive to ensure the organisation meets its animal welfare objectives,” he said.

“Tasracing places the welfare of racing animals across all three codes front and centre of our operational decisions. Dr Lenz’s appointment is assisting us to continue to meet this important obligation and drive further improvement in line with community expectations.

“Recent animal welfare initiatives introduced include the drafting of a comprehensive Equine Code of Practice, an increase in funding for the Greyhound Recovery Rebate Scheme, the greyhound desexing program and multiple investments in infrastructure specifically relevant to animal welfare.”

Mr Jenkins said the implementation of recommendations from the Tasracing-commissioned Sykes Review into animal welfare continued.

 “Work on more than half of the 83 recommendations from the review provided by Dr David Sykes had either commenced or was completed during last financial year,” he said.

“All of the recommendations in the report – commissioned to allow an independent assessment of Tasracing’s and the broader industry’s welfare-related programs – had been carefully assessed and scheduled for implementation based on welfare priorities.”