On 11 March 2016, they served notice to all members that:-
“The National Horseracing Authority firmly believes that all racehorses deserve to be treated with care and dignity when their racing career comes to an end. Thoroughbred horses are refined athletes and do excel in order equine sports such as polo, show jumping, dressage and equitation. However, they are not designed to withstand meagre or rural conditions and every effort must be made to prevent Thoroughbreds from ending up in circumstances where they would be neglected or abused.
For this reason, The National Horseracing Authority has promulgated a new rule to specify how racehorses must be treated once they have finished racing. The new rule recognises that all Owners have a responsibility towards their horses, whether they have been successful or unsuccessful, and that Owners have certain obligations to make sure that their horses do not end up in unpleasant conditions.
Whilst The National Horseracing Authority is mindful that the additional burden of responsibility now placed on the Owner may be inconvenient, it is certain that everybody will agree that these magnificent animals which provide so much excitement and provides significant economic benefits, deserve careful consideration when their time as a racehorse is over.”
The new ruling is an amendment to the existing Rule 41.7 and makes provision for the humane disposal of horses once their racing careers are over. It reads as follows:-
41.10 The OWNER of a HORSE shall remain responsible for the care and welfare of a HORSE registered in his name with the NHA, once it retires from racing and for the rest of its natural life, unless he:
41.10.1 transfers ownership of the HORSE to another OWNER or an owner in another racing jurisdiction; or
41.10.2 transfers ownership of the HORSE to a BREEDER; or
41.10.3 transfers ownership of the HORSE to a Horsecare Unit run under the auspices of the National Horse Trust, together with the required fee; or
41.10.4 has the HORSE humanely euthanased and reports such euthanasia to the NHA; or
41.10.5 disposes, whether by an auction approved by the CHIEF EXECUTIVE or otherwise, the HORSE out of racing, on condition that a “second career assessment form” as prescribed from time to time, has been completed by a veterinary surgeon, the OWNER and the TRAINER, enabling the HORSE to pursue an intended second career outside of horseracing. If required, the OWNER agrees to make all relevant veterinary history available to the veterinary surgeon and TRAINER, in order to complete the form accurately. The assessment form shall be submitted to the CHIEF EXECUTIVE within one week of the horse retiring from racing. Should the assessment recommend humane euthanasia and the OWNER elects not to humanely euthanase the HORSE, then the OWNER shall remain responsible for that horse’s welfare for the rest of its natural life.
41.11 An OWNER shall be guilty of an offence if he fails to dispose of a horse in accordance with RULE 41.10
41.12 For the purposes of Rule 41, a horse will be regarded as having been retired from the time it leaves a Trainers’ yard or a breeding establishment to be placed in the care of a person who is not registered with the National Horseracing Authority.
The new Rule will become effective from 20 March 2016.