On October 1 2022 Harness Racing New Zealand (HRNZ) introduced their Horse care regulations which set out the minimum standard of care that a person must provide to standardbreds in their care. https://www.hrnz.co.nz/assets/Horse-Care-Regulations-FINAL-31082022.pdf
The Racing Integrity Board (RIB) has a designated function under the Racing Act to support and monitor the operation and effectiveness of each racing code’s animal welfare policies and initiatives. As part of this the RIB will be conducting audits of 100 trainers’ stables throughout this coming year (15% of the total 654 registered trainers).
An audit is designed to assess a stables compliance with the Horse care regulations. Fact sheets and FAQ’s on the Horse care regulations can be found here – https://www.hrnz.co.nz/industry-information/health-and-animal-welfare/horse-care-regulations/
A team of officials (RIB staff, Veterinarian and Auditor) will visit stables and check animal health, as well as any facilities used for the training / care / containment of horses. These visits will be announced, and trainers will be notified via email in the days prior to the audit.
Following each audit, a report will be issued to the trainer, and to HRNZ, containing any areas of non-compliance. These areas of non-compliance will be addressed as an ‘improvement notice’ which trainers are required to comply with. The intent of these is to assist trainers in reaching the required standard set out by the regulations. The RIB will be taking an approach of assisted compliance where possible to assist trainers with reaching those standards and implementing practices to maintain, or better, them. The best way to prepare for an audit is to familiarise yourself with the regulations. There are many new aspects which have been introduced, such as the requirement to keep accurate treatment records. Having an understanding of these will ensure a smoother audit and a higher standard of compliance.
Three pilot audits are to be carried out in the coming week. The results, and data gained, from the audits will help to guide the RIB and HRNZ in focusing on areas which may need extra attention / education. Those who take part in the process will also be surveyed for feedback with results being made available to the industry.
While it is the intention of the RIB to help licensed persons to become familiar and comply with the horse care regulations, any significant departure from acceptable animal welfare standards will be assessed on the merits of the circumstances in which they present and could result in an investigation and charge under the racing rules.