Parallel economics – Retired racehorse heaven in the Hunter.
Despite what the anti racing activists might say, the horse
racing industry takes post racing animal welfare extremely
seriously. So given that two of the Hunters most important
industries sit in such close proximity to each other,
perhaps there’s a great opportunity to work together to
create an enterprise to re-home and re-purpose
thoroughbreds for their post racing life on existing useable
This is not a new idea (Well doing it on mine land is) – just a good one. In fact
Racing NSW has already made a major $5 million investment in horse welfare
buying a property in Capertee near the proud mining region of Mudgee. It will
be used for retired racehorses with facilities for rehabilitation, retraining and
rehoming. The 2600-acre property includes state of the art equestrian facilities
and is an initiative of the Racing NSW Equine Welfare Fund. Member for
Bathurst Paul Toole said, “It’s a win for regional NSW and particularly the
Central West, creating hundreds of jobs, both directly and indirectly.”
Adopting a similar plan in the Hunter would be a boost for the horse
racing industry and coexistence locally. There could be much more on
offer than the horse care, and it could easily become a tourist attraction.
Taking a few points from a government study we understand that the
Australian racing industry is the second largest in the world with more than
32,000 racehorses. Horses generally have their first start as 3 year olds or
older with only a few racing into double digit years. For most horses with
potential life span of 25 years, these horses need to go somewhere.
So, what happens to all those racehorses? Every season, approximately
11,000 racehorses retire. Records tell us that approximately 3,000 of the
11,000 retirees go to stud, staying in the racing industry leaving 8,000 horses.
The vast majority of racehorses go on to new careers in a large range of
areas, including breeding, leisure horses, sport horses, stock horses and
police horses. Very, very few end up at the knackery despite the mistruths
promoted by some. Like mining, the racing industry operates under a social
license and must adhere to community standards.
So maybe it’s time to look at the feasibility of a plan like this. The Hunter
mining industry is perfectly positioned to create a productive facility. The
expertise is there and perhaps the need. Giddy up!