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Welfare Issues – Industry Set To Join Forces

BSA introduces R10 000 minimum bid

The need for sustainable solutions for equine welfare have been highlighted again after the news that fifteen racehorses were confiscated from a farm in Middleburg Mpumalanga last week.

The National Horseracing Authority announced on Monday that an NHA official, accompanied by a representative from the Highveld Horse Care Unit, visited the farm on Thursday and returned on Saturday with the support of the South African Police Services, armed with a Court Order to confiscate fifteen thoroughbred horses from the farm in question.

The horses were transported to the Highveld Horse Care Unit, where six had to be euthanased due to their extremely poor condition.

It is commendable that the NHA took decisive and prompt action. The sad thing is that the damage was already done and that anybody can walk into a sales venue with an ID and qualify to become a bidder.

The Sporting Post has been contacted by various owners and breeders, who have expressed their sadness and disgust with the actions of the unknown individuals. Criminal charges may follow, according to the NHA.

The buyer, whose name is known to the Sporting Post, is apparently not licenced with the NHA and  is alleged to have misrepresented certain facts. It is not known what the intention was with the purchased horses.

It is not a regulatory requirement that buyers at any thoroughbred auctions require to be registered with any industry regulatory body. The sales company has not done anything wrong.

Sales companies are known to issue buyers cards in the course of their business to approved persons  meeting certain credit criteria and those that deposit cash in advance of the auction.

Bloodstock SA CEO Michael Holmes confirmed to the Sporting Post that a minimum first bid of R10 000 had been introduced with immediate effect. He also said that his company was working closely with the Highveld Horse Care Unit to ensure that the surviving horses are homed and cared for.

The question of liability and blame is obviously an emotional one. The introduction of the minimum bid can certainly go some way towards  the curtailment prospects of cheap multiple purchases, which can be an warning signal that the purpose of purchase may not fall within the general sport or recreational spectrum which vendors would find acceptable.

“If a person that is not registered within racing structures wishes to buy, they should at least produce an accreditation and certification that they are, let’s say, a member of a polo club, for example. We will never fully curtail potential abuse, but we need to implement restrictions and controls,” suggested one distraught owner.

The issue of welfare is one of the leading challenges facing horseracing in the 21st century and was discussed at the recent Asian Racing Conference as the morally correct course of action in a world where social norms demand that everything be done within the reasonable bounds of control to ensure optimal protection for horses.

The Thoroughbred Breeders Association, in conjunction with other trade organisations, has recently announced a new initiative, with the establishment of an independent working group, to provide sustainable recommendations for equine welfare.

The four-strong group is looking at global best practise and is consulting with the industry.

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8 comments on “Welfare Issues – Industry Set To Join Forces

  1. Steve Reid says:

    It’s not difficult to work out who the buyer was, just peruse the Shongweni sales results. It would be interesting to find out whether the horses were paid for before they were removed from the complex. Its a short two weeks since the sale and transportation to Stoffberg Mpumalanga so you have to feel for these horses who have clearly been mistreated from the get go.

  2. Steve Reid says:

    As an aside kudos must be given to whoever was responsible for the rapid intervention, this has most certainly prevented further abuse and loss.

  3. Sharon Patterson says:

    How could these horses deteriorate to such a degree and 2 weeks! These horses would never have been in poor condition when being presented for the Sale by Licenced Trainers and inspected by a NHRA Official at the Sale! Something is very wrong with the facility & treatment of the horses in Mpumalanga!

  4. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…This is a very touchy subject that needs urgent attention,,so much more can be done towards finding better homes and so for the animal after it’s racing career…Breeders Owners Jockeys, Trainers, Insurance companies Vets Phumelela Gold Circle and Bookmakers all who benefit from that particular animals racing career should contribute and form sort of pot so after his/her career is done at least we’ll know that the animal will be taken care of…blaming the owner I think needs addressing I personally feel whoever benefits should be responsible…We are losing owners left right and centre so putting the owner under more pressure after the horses career is done i think it’s wrong,,all must contribute

  5. Pops says:

    Frankie,do you think this Rule should be scrapped?
    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,

  6. Frankie says:

    Frankie Zackey…Pops to answer your question yes i personally think they should reasses that ruling not that i’m a bright spark of the rules especially that stakes are plummeting…Name 1 trainer that is not owed upkeep ? I’ll give up racing if you can mention 1 trainer,,owning horses is a very expensive exercise…if one does the maths not if but or maybe owners are the real looser without a doubt…Pops take just a 10k purchased horse at a sale and it races until the age of 5 and he/she manages to win 5 races which is highly unlikely to happen is the owner showing a profit ? exclude group races there’s only 1 answer my mate and that answer is NO so instead of adding extra pressure onto the owner I think they should reasses that ruling and get all parties who benefit to contribute wouldn’t that be fair all round ?

  7. Sandy says:

    Can Mr Holmes of the TBA please explain how a minimum first bid of R10,000 at an auction will assist with the welfare of thoroughbred horses. 😡

  8. Gman says:

    How about taking a small percentage of the P6 pools towards the welfare of horses.There are so many directors pocketing money yet the industry is moving in the opposite direction.To own a horse or any animal for that matter is not childs play.Whether you make a profit or not you cant own/buy a horse purely because you have the money at the time or because of status..Like any business you have to think ahead.

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