Horse Welfare

Animal welfare is central to the future of the Victorian harness racing industry and is a guiding principle in the strategic direction of the organisation.

Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) has developed an Animal Welfare Framework which outlines its strategy and expectations for the care of Standardbred horses. This framework also includes Welfare Guidelines for Trainers, Raceday heat policy and Raceday Veterinary which will assist trainers and industry participants.

Equine welfare best practice is an evolving journey, and this framework builds on past work in the animal welfare area. This framework also includes Harness Racing Victoria (HRV) Welfare Guidelines for Trainers to assist them to serve to guide us into the future, setting clear priorities and objectives. Any breaches of these expectations in animal welfare standards will be referred to the HRV Integrity Department for investigation.

It is expected that licensed participants, breeders, veterinarians, farriers, and other stakeholders involved in the harness racing industry read this document with associated policies and guidelines in order to familiarise themselves with industry expectations.

 HRV Animal Welfare Framework

The HRV Integrity Department will not accept compromising welfare of a horse under any circumstances and will be responsible for taking immediate action once notified or made aware of any animal welfare concern.

Any person suspected to be in breach of compromising animal welfare standards may be referred to the HRV Racing and Appeals Disciplinarian Board and the RSPCA for official notification.

Report Animal Welfare Concerns 

HERO Program

Harness Education & Rehoming Opportunities (HERO) was launched in July 2015 as a joint initiative of Harness Racing Victoria and the State Government via the Victorian Racing Industry Fund.

HERO strives to create positive pathways for Standardbreds exiting the racing environment, catering both for horses which have come to the conclusion of their career and those which do not race.

The development and implementation of HERO was prompted by several important considerations:

  • A State Government review of harness racing in Victoria;
  • Growing community focus on animal welfare issues across all three racing codes; and
  • HRV’s desire to consolidate and expand the State’s existing Standardbred re-education and rehoming activities under a common umbrella.

To learn more about the HERO program visit the HERO website