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Welfare Not Optional Says Barends

CEO Takes Firm Stand In September Newsletter

Lyndon Barends (photo: hamishNIVENPhotography)

Lyndon Barends (photo: hamishNIVENPhotography)

NHA CEO Lyndon Barends has broken new ground for the South African racing industry by acknowledging a Duty Of Care to the Thoroughbred and committing to formally embedding before / during / post racing care.

In his hard-hitting contribution to the September 2017 NHA newsletter, he writes:-

“The IFAR (International Forum for the Aftercare of Racehorses) Conference held during the Pan American Conference resonated well with me and was the final stimulus that made it abundantly clear that the Racing Authorities must take the lead to ensure that before/during/beyond racing care becomes embedded within the business fabric of the sport.

It’s critical that we accept that there is a DUTY OF CARE that we cannot and dare not IGNORE. The aftercare of racehorses makes Business Sense. it makes ethical Business Sense!

I will propose to our Board that we adopt the philosophical view that we need to move away from the practice that aftercare is at the mercy or the goodwill gestures of a few individuals with good conscience. Also, that we move towards embedding post racing options within the essence and fabric of our business practice. It must become the responsibility of all involved in the sport. We all benefit from the horse.

The Regulatory Authority registers, licenses or levies nearly all or most of those involved in the industry and can therefore exercise the first call to action with regards to the DUTY OF CARE.

We must institutionalise before/during/post racing care and now specifically post racing options.

Furthermore, I will propose to the National Board that in order to enshrine this into our modus operandi, we need to take the first step and ensure that it’s an expense item in our budget. This means that we will have to re-prioritise our business operational expenditure to incorporate this aspect as part of our normal business practice. This is NOT OPTIONAL.

We hopefully will not look to reinvent the wheel, but rather consolidate our many disparate goodwill and well-meaning but uncoordinated programmes. This is where alignment becomes important.

We the NHA use play an umbrella role and steer the industry efforts around an overall focussed, consolidated, aligned and institutionalised programme. Collaboration with industry lobbyists, role-players and activists will be non negotiable to identify post racing options and various service delivery agents, venue and best practice programmes.

Some of these initiatives will include but not be limited to:

  • Retraining for equestrian competitions
  • Therapeutic uses
  • Educational opportunities
  • Identifying sanctuaries for horsecare
  • A process of retaining for other useful purposes

My opinion is that, the earlier in the lifespan of the horse we start the exit planning, the better. The Racing Authority must make the first budgetary sacrifice/commitment. It then becomes easier to solicit from others to build a sustainable programme.

A mining company must rehabilitate minefields and affected communities. It’s an expense item and budget provision. Oil companies have environmental rehabilitation budgets. The question is – what makes us any different?

In conclusion, horse racing must have the post racing welfare at the core of its responsible business practice. It must be uncompromising of this as part of our DUTY OF CARE programme – before/during/beyond racing just as we should care for all the people in our employ which can’t also be neglected.”

Change is never easy, particularly in a tough economic climate, but we commend Mr Barends for his bold and decisive action.

Catch up on the rest of the NHA news by clicking the image below:-

NHA Newsletter September 2017

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10 comments on “Welfare Not Optional Says Barends

  1. mabaker says:

    Mr Barends, you are so correct! It is high time someone in this industry spoke out on behalf of these noble animals that give us so much pleasure and the privileged few so much profit. We must ALL contribute to the well being of the race horse especially the retired horses. It is not charity, it is a DUTY. We cannot leave it to a handful of under funded individuals to carry the can for the whole horse racing fraternity, this must be a concerted effort spearheaded by some like a Mr Barends who can bring pressure to bear on ALL role players and beneficiaries in this game to make a meaningful and just contribution toward the welfare of these wonderful beasts.

  2. James George says:

    Curious to know why a mining company must rehabilitate minefields.Is that not dangerous?

  3. Steve Reid says:

    Talk is cheap

  4. Albert X says:

    I tried to find this newsletter on the nhra website. It could not be found.

    While looking for the newsletter I read the nhra rules to see what they say about the welfare of the animal.

    I was shocked and horrified to find that the nhra promotes voluntary euthanasia of a horse after its racing career ends.

    Its great to talk about the nhra having a duty of care regarding a horses welfare after racing. In my books, when you talk about the welfare of a horse, you acknowledge that the horse is a creature that has a right to live. Voluntary euthanasia interferes with that right.

    I think the newletter and the views in it will be put in file 49. The colt may have already been gelded and Mr Reid’s comment about talk is cheapcould be spot on.

  5. James George says:

    Now who was it that said.”I’m an optimist,but an optimist who carries a raincoat”?

  6. Don says:

    Big step forward. Well done.

  7. Ian Jayes says:

    While still a trustee of the National Thoroughbred Trust i proposed the following be made a condition of registration for racing: Any horse leaving the ambit of racing and not going to stud, will be checked by a NHA veterinarian and if not completely sound will be euthanased. Thirty-odd years later they are still no closer to solving the problem.

  8. Gavin says:

    I hope this happens and not just talk.We have stopped racing because of this.I have seven ex racehorses which we raced and will look after them for the rest of there days.We are involved in show jumping as well and with the warmblood becoming more and more popular trying to home racehorses is becoming so much more difficult.The industry are breeding more and more and all I here everyone looking forward to the next sale BUT what is happening to the horses leaving racing?I have spoken to the coastal horse care unit and the situation is not good.About time the industry does something about it.

  9. The Dark Duke says:

    Perhaps the little issue of a Carte Blanche exposė has help firm up the previously mute MD’s “firm” stand?

    1. Editor says:

      A reminder that the Carte Blanche show tonight at 19h00 on Dstv 101 carries an insert on Bush Racing

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