A Bioeconomic Model for the Thoroughbred Racing Industry-Optimisation of the Production Cycle with a Horse Centric Welfare Perspective

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MDPI (Basel, Switzerland)
(c) 2023 The Author/s
CC BY 4.0
The Thoroughbred racing industry faces new and competing pressures to operate within a modern, changing society. Three major moderators drive the focus and productivity of the industry worldwide: economic sustainability, horse biology and social licence to operate. This review proposes that despite the apparent homogeneity in the structure of racing across jurisdictions due to international regulation of the sport, there are significant differences within each jurisdiction in each of the three moderators. This creates challenges for the comparison of injury risk factors for racehorses within the industry across different jurisdictions. Comparison of the relative distribution of racing and gambling metrics internationally indicates that the Asian jurisdictions have a high focus on gambling efficiency and high economic return of the product, with a high number of starts per horse and the highest relative betting turnover. In contrast, the racing metrics from the USA have proportionally low racing stakes and fewer horses per race. These differences provide insight into the sociology of horse ownership, with a shift from the long-term return on investment held by most jurisdictions to a short-term transitional view and immediate return on investment in others. Wastage studies identify varying risks influenced by the predominant racing culture, training methods, production focus and environment within individual jurisdictions. Increasing societal pressure to maintain high racehorse welfare and reduce the negative impact of gambling poses fluctuating risks to each jurisdiction's social licence to operate. Based on the data presented within this review, the authors propose that the use of a bioeconomic model would permit consideration of all three moderators on industry practice and optimisation of the jurisdiction-specific production cycle with a horse-centric welfare perspective.
Thoroughbred industry, economics, horse, racehorse welfare, racing
Legg KA, Gee EK, Breheny M, Gibson MJ, Rogers CW. (2023). A Bioeconomic Model for the Thoroughbred Racing Industry-Optimisation of the Production Cycle with a Horse Centric Welfare Perspective.. Animals (Basel). 13. 3. (pp. 479-).