New scanners to improve horse welfare

Victoria’s racehorses will soon benefit from some of the best injury prevention screening services available anywhere in the world, thanks to Andrews’ Labor Government funding.

Racing Minister Martin Pakula announced more than $950,000 from the Victorian Racing Industry Fund will be invested in new technologies to improve animal welfare in the racing industry.

A Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner will be purchased for the University of Melbourne’s Equine Center in Werribee, along with a Standing Computed Tomography (CT) scanner to be located at the Cranbourne Training Centre.

The joint $1.9 million project is backed by Racing Victoria with over $700,000 and the University of Melbourne with over $240,000.

The University of Melbourne, in partnership with Racing Victoria and the Labor Government, has conducted cutting-edge research into injury risk factors in racehorses and how to improve prevention.

Australia’s first equine PET scanner at Werribee will improve the Centre’s ability to identify areas of concern in horses, further improving safety and welfare and will be operational from 2023.

Horses training in South East Victoria, including the Cranbourne Training Centre, will have better access to high quality imagery with this advanced technology, reducing the need to travel to the Werribee Equine Veterinary Establishment. Installation of the standing CT scanner is expected to take place after this year’s Spring Racing Carnival.

The $950,000 investment in scanners is in addition to the $4.95 million in support provided by the Victorian Racing Industry Fund towards the Equine Limb Injury Prevention Program in partnership with Racing Victoria and the University of Melbourne.

The Thoroughbred racing industry in Victoria generates $3.2 billion for the Victorian economy and helps sustain over 25,150 full-time equivalent jobs locally.

As racing minister Martin Pakula said

“Victoria produces cutting-edge research on injury prevention in racehorses. This new technology will provide improved care for racehorses competing in our state, the birthplace of racing in Australia.

As Racing Victoria chairman Brian Kruger said

“This project reinforces our broad commitment to horse welfare and ensures that advanced screening technology will be available to more horses year-round in Victoria.”

As Professor Chis Whitton of the University of Melbourne said

“We pride ourselves on conducting groundbreaking research that is making a real difference in injury reduction, and the new scanners will help take that to the next level with better diagnostic capabilities and capabilities.”

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