Thoroughbred Welfare Guidelines

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing’s vision for thoroughbred welfare

“A thoroughbred should be provided a good life, with the care and conditions that will allow the horse to thrive and perform to its natural abilities.”

High welfare standards benefit the individual horse as well as the whole thoroughbred racing industry. Horse welfare and peak performance are closely connected, as multiple champion trainer DJ O'Sullivan regularly stated: "Happy, helathy horses run well."  NZTR's thoroughbred welfare guidelines were release in October 2019 and can be viewed
Equine welfare is a priority for New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing, evident through:
Government-mandated welfare laws and regulations also apply, and a horse’s welfare is the responsibility of the owner or accountable person.

The science behind our welfare approach

We base our welfare vision for thoroughbred racing on the Five Domains Model of Animal Welfare1. By adopting this model, New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing aims to reduce avoidable negative experiences and ensure our horses enjoy a live worth living.

The Science Behind Our Welfare Approach
Mellor, D. Updating animal welfare thinking: Moving beyond the “Five Freedoms” towards “a Life Worth Living”. Animals 2016, 6.
Available online here

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing will:
  • Continue working with key animal welfare experts to increase its understanding of animal welfare
  • Communicate new welfare thinking to stakeholders, in particular, using the ‘Five Domains’ model as a guiding framework
  • Commit to improving how we collect and report welfare-related data for New Zealand thoroughbreds, to provide an evidence base for future discussions and interventions
  • Undertake detailed data analysis or research to determine the various reasons why horses do not meet their expected potential, and formulate initiatives to reduce identifiable and systemic welfare issues.