Veterinarians are in a standoff with Racing New South Wales over plans requiring vets to be licensed with the racing body.
The vets argue they are already licensed and regulated, and that the oversight sought by Racing NSW was not necessary.
Equine veterinarians from the Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) warned last month there would be serious impacts to the racing industry if Racing NSW proceeded with the new rule governing the activities of vets who treat racehorses in the state
AVA’s president, Dr Ben Gardiner said veterinarians were already regulated, licensed and held to account by the New South Wales Government through the Veterinary Practitioners’ Board, and that Racing NSW had not provided any evidence that additional regulation was needed.
“In fact, so effective has the regulation been that Racing NSW has only seen the need to make one complaint against a vet to the board in the last seven years,” Gardiner said.
“And vets were recently listed in the top 10 most trusted professions in Australia.”
While AVA members strongly support maintaining the highest levels of integrity in racing, the association believes the Veterinary Practitioners’ Board should be the only regulator for vets.
“Our members feel so strongly about this that many have told us they will have no choice but to end their involvement with racing, as this just adds an unnecessary layer of red tape,” Gardiner said.
“There are 140 race clubs in rural and regional New South Wales that are likely to be affected. Many vets contribute to their local race club on race day as a community service and will no longer be willing to do so if the proposed licensing system becomes a reality.”
“And if there are no vets, there are no races.”
He continued: “Further regulation is unnecessary and will have unintended consequences to the racing industry.”
Racing NSW and veterinarians met this week in a bid to resolve the issue, with the date of implementation of the proposed regime pushed back from December 1 to January 15 as efforts continue to reach agreement.
Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’landys said the licensing of vets was essential to the integrity of racing.
He told local media: “We will not compromise the integrity of racing and we want punters and everyone to know that we are racing on a level playing field and that is why we want to licence veterinarians.”