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Why Horse Racing In Australia Needs A Social License To Operate

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Racing industry has grown exponentially since it started.

It now has over 240,000 employees. Horse racing is watched by millions in Australia which raises millions for the government. Although there are all these positives, there are still may issues surrounding horse racing, such as the welfare of the horses, which is one of the main concerns. In order to create a compromise between the opposing sides, regulations were put in place, this is known as a social license. 

Advantages of horse racing

The horse racing industry has many benefits to the Australian economy. According to Racing Australia, it has created 48 680 jobs. The industry also brings in hundreds of millions for the Australian economy, in both tax money and prizes to people who bet both in person and online on websites like Unibet, who specialise in horse racing.

Disadvantages of horse racing

According to Racing Victoria, 9% of all race horses either die from injury or illness, some are also euthanised. A 2011 study showed that 98% of thoroughbred racehorses are whipped, but there is a restriction placed on the amount of times that a horse can be whipped. There are also dangers faced by jockeys, such as falls and in rare cases, even death. A risk faced by the public is with gambling, if not done responsibly. 

What is a social licence to operate?

A social license to operate is a non-legally binding contract in which the community allows an industry to operate. A social license to operate works well in the horse racing industry as it has had a great response to legislation, policy and rules. A social licence to operate should address all participating parties’ wellbeing. 

Who issues a social license to operate?

In a broad definition, a social license to operate is issued by the community. There is no clear definition of who the community is. In the case of horse racing, it is thought to be animals-in-sport organisations. 

Monitoring a social license to operate

When discussing a social licence to operate, it cannot be dictated by a group of leaders as this will create an unfair representation of ideals. Within the horse racing community, there are multiple organisations that should monitor animal-based industries. There needs to be a fair representation of groups, which in this case would be: levels of wastage, industry engagement and outreach on key issues, development within the industry, and deaths and injuries. These elements all need to be monitored by the specific industry in order to be sure that the horse racing industry is operation within the guidelines discussed in the social license to operate. 

Australian horse racing needs a social license to operate in order to ensure that such a large and profitable industry, stays within community guidelines and does not abuse or take advantage of those participating in horse racing. In cases like these, especially where animals are concerned, the Australian government needs to ensure that everyone is treated fairly and this is why a social license to operate is needed. 



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