Thoroughbred horse levy to boost research and development

From September 1, thoroughbred breeders will pay $10 per mare covered or returned towards industry research and development. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

From September 1, thoroughbred breeders will pay $10 per mare covered or returned towards industry research and development. Picture: Wikimedia Commons

After years of unsuccessful attempts, a research and development (R&D) levy is set to be introduced for thoroughbred breeders from September 1. 

For the fist time, breeders will pay a levy of $10 per mare covered or $10 per returned each season, which will be matched by the federal government to create a $2.4 million research and development fund. 

An advisory board established by the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC) in Wagga will manage and administer the funds. 

Project manager Michael Beer said the drafting of the five-year R&D plan is currently underway to explore market options for expansion of the thoroughbred industry as well in areas such as health, new breeding technology and injury prevention. 

“It’s a significant boost in funds, more than double what we were using,” he said.

“Equity-wise in the past we had individuals within industry supporting the program, this cuts across all breeders allowing us to really focus on things that are important to them.”

Stuart Lamont, stud principal at Kooringal Stud believes the levy is a good move for the industry. 

“It’s a small contribution and there’s a real opportunity for benefit for all breeds,” Mr Lamont said. 

His stud covers roughly 250 mares a season. 

In his view, disease control and animal welfare are core areas to focus on. 

“I’d say disease control is the highest priority, outbreaks can come out of the blue,” he said. 

“After the knee-jerk response to the greyhound’s fiasco animal welfare is something we’ll really want to be on the front foot of.” 

There have been multiple attempts to raise a levy by the peak industry body Thoroughbred Breeders Australia over the past five years. 

Mr Lamont said he believes prior resistance was due to a lack of understanding.

Australia’s 660 stud farms form the second largest thoroughbred breeding industry in the world.

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