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Vets Licensing Policy Impacting Country Racing
Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA), a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association, reports that country racing is starting to feel the impact of a decision by Racing NSW to impose a licence on veterinarians from 1 July. "No one wants to see country race meetings and regional communities suffer," said EVA Vice President, Dr Ian Fulton. "But we are starting to hear reports that some vets are choosing not to provide race day services to local race clubs anymore because of this unnecessary licence." He added: "Equine Veterinarians Australia has been communicating with members about the situation, but each vet is making his or her own decision about how to respond." One such vet is Dr David Johnson from Coffs Harbour who has been providing race day services to the local race club for over 30 years. Dr Johnson has regretfully informed the club that this will not be the case after 1 August. "During that time, I have enjoyed an excellent working relationship with many stewards and have always cooperated fully with any requests that they or Racing NSW have asked of me," Dr Johnson said. "Unfortunately I cannot in good conscience apply for a licence as I'm already licensed by the NSW Veterinary Practitioners Board. This licence contravenes my responsibilities as a practising veterinarian under the Veterinary Practitioners Act as well as the Protection of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Stock Medicines Act." The Australian Veterinary Association says vets are already licensed under NSW legislation and there is no need for Racing NSW to add another layer of regulation for vets who treat race horses. "Dr Johnson is not alone. Our members feel so strongly about this that many have told us that they will have no choice but to end their involvement with racing as a result. We have communicated this to Racing NSW in the past, and I urge them to rescind this decision and come back to the table to negotiate a solution that benefits both parties," Dr Fulton said. "Otherwise I fear that other rural and regional communities may find themselves without a vet on race day."