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DOI10.3390/su11195539ExecutiveSummary1/2
InterspeciesSustainabilitytoEnsureAnimalProtection:
LessonsfromtheThoroughbredRacingIndustry
IrisM.Bergmann,PhD
Citation:Bergmann,IrisM.2019.InterspeciesSustainabilitytoEnsureAnimalProtection:LessonsfromtheThoroughbred
RacingIndustry.Sustainability11(19):5539.Availableathttps://doi.org/10.3390/su11195539
Contact:iris.bergmann@sydney.edu.au,PhDResearcher[ThoroughbredRacing|Sustainability|AnimalProtection].FacultyofScience,
SchoolofGeosciences,TheUniversityofSydney
ExecutiveSummary

Background
Theideaofsustainabilityisacceptedasaguidingprinciple
forhowsocietyoughttodevelop.Sustainabledevelopment
isaconceptionofsustainabilitythatisadoptedforpolicy
developmentinbusinessandgovernment.Thisconception
howeverfocussesonhumaninterestsattheexpenseof
animalprotection.Animalindustriessuchasthe
thoroughbredindustryareconcernedabouttheir
sustainability,buttheygenerallyrefertoeconomic
sustainabilityonly.Thethoroughbredindustryisalso
concernedaboutthepublic’sperceptionofthehorses’
welfare.Theyacknowledgethattheirsociallicenseto
operateisatriskandtheythushaveincorporated
thoroughbredwelfareunderthesocialdomain.However,
forsustainabilitytoadvance,animalprotectionneedstobe
understoodasadefiningaspectofsustainabilityinitsown
right.Howthisappliestoananimalindustrysuchas
thoroughbredracingandwhatthismeansforthoroughbred
protectionisdiscussedinthisarticle.
PurposeofthisResearch
Thepurposeofthisstudywas1)todevelopaframeworkfor
sustainabilitythatincludesanimalprotection,and2)to
applythisframeworktoinvestigatehowthethoroughbred
industryisplacedtorespondtothisframework.
ResearchAims
Theaimsofthisstudywereto
identifythebuildingblocksofanotionofsustainability
thatincludesanimalprotection,
findouthowkeystakeholdersintheinternational
thoroughbredracingindustrylinkthoroughbredwelfare
andsustainability,
situatethethoroughbredindustryinrelationto
interspeciessustainability,
explorewhatthatmightmeanforthefutureofracing,
thoroughbredwelfareandanimalprotectionoverall.
Methods
Thisstudywasundertakenintwoparts,atheoreticalandan
empiricalpart.Thiscomprehensiveapproachwasdesigned
tobridgethetheorypracticegap,assistinpolicy
developmentandincommunicatingtoabroaderaudience.
Part1(Section2ofthearticle)istheorybased.Inthispart,
aframeworkforinterspeciessustainabilitywasdeveloped.
Itreliesonseminalwritingsinthesustainabilityliterature
thatmakereferencetotheuseofanimals,whichincludeUN
documents,andthosethatmakereferencetoanimal
welfarewithinthesustainabilitycontext,thatisresearchon
foodsystemsandanimalagriculture.Inaddition,literature
focusingonecosystemicperspectivesandhumananimal
relationshipswasdrawnontofurtherdeveloptherelevant
themesfromtheaforementionedliterature.
Part2(Section4ofthearticle)istheempiricalpartofthis
study.Participantsincludeninethoroughbredindustry
informantswithbackgroundinexecutive,administrative
andgovernancerolesfromAustralia(3),theUS(5)andan
internationalbody(1).Tofurtherunderstandthe
implicationsforthefutureofracing,theperspectivesof
animaladvocacyinformantswasalsostudied.Seven
advocacyinformantsfromAustralia(3),theUK(2)andthe
US(2)participated.Thesixteeninformantswere
interviewedusingsemistructuredinterviewing.The
sustainabilitytheoryofPart1wasappliedtotheanalysisof
theinterviewdata.
KeyFindings
LinkingSustainabilityandThoroughbredWelfare
ThoroughbredIndustryInformants
Theindustryinformantsagreethoroughbredwelfareis
indispensableforthesustainabilityoftheindustry.
Theygenerallyrelatewelfaretoracingintegrity(i.e.fair
bettingandcompetition)andpublicperception.
Theydonotconsiderthoroughbredwelfarea
sustainabilitydomainititsownright.
Theydonotaimtoaddresssustainabilitybyaddressing
thoroughbredwelfareatabroaderlevel.
Someindustryinformantsrecognisetheexistingculture
withintheindustryasathreatforthoroughbredwelfare
andthusindustrysustainability.
DOI10.3390/su11195539ExecutiveSummary2/2
Nonetheless,industryinformantsfocuspredominantly
onsolutionsbasedinthemarketingspaceandthe
technologicalrealm,andtheirpriorityistoattractmore
owners,breedersandcustomers.
AnimalAdvocacyInformants
Animaladvocacyinformantsmostlyshareanunder
standingofsustainabilitythatreferstotheeconomic
dimensiononly.
Mostbelievetheindustrypursuessustainabilityatthe
expenseofthoroughbredwelfare.
Therefore,manyexpressdiscomfortaboutlinking
welfaretosustainability.
KeyFindings
LayersofEngagementwithAnimalProtection
Differentwaysofengagingwiththoroughbredprotection
canbeidentified.Thisresearchhighlightseightsuchlayers
ofengagement.Theyrangefromthosestrivingtomaintain
thestatusquo(Layers12)throughtoreform(Layers36)
andtothoseaimingattransformation(Layers78).
Figure:Amodelforsituatingthoroughbredracinginrelationto
interspeciessustainability(DiscourseLayers12relatetotheStatusQuo,
Layers36toReform,Layers78toTransformation).
Thewelfarediscourseofthethoroughbredindustryatlarge
(clubs,trainers,owners,veterinariansetc.)isbasedinthe
statusquospectrum.Welfareisfocusedonfunctioningfor
optimalracedayperformance(Layer1),andseenasaby
productofmeasurestakenforindustryintegrity(Layer2).
Theindustryinformantsofthisstudyarelargelysituatedin
thereformspectrum.Animalwelfareismostlyconsidered
tobeequalinimportancetoracingintegritybutthefocusis
onthemostegregiouswelfareviolations(Layer3).Techno
biomedicalmanagement(e.g.tracksurfaces,vetscience)is
prioritisedandpresentedasevidenceforcaringfor
thoroughbreds(Layer4).
Theanimaladvocacyinformantstendtobesituatedatthe
advancedreformspectrumwithafocusonanimalintegrity.
Theyfavourhorsecentredapproachestowelfare,including
horsecentredtraining,handlingandhealthandhealing
(Layer5).Layer5movesanimalprotectionbeyond
amelioratingdeathandinjuriesandthemostegregious
welfareviolationstoconsidertheentirerangeofissuesof
thedaytodaylivingconditions,environmentalconditions
and,toalimiteddegree,humananimalinteractions.Some
industryinformantsengagewithsomeaspectsofLayer5.
Layer6issituatedwithintheframeworkofanimalwelfare
scienceandrelateddisciplines.Itcurrentlyplaysnorolein
thediscourseinracingbutitsrelevanceislikelytoincrease.
Forthislayertohavelegitimacy,thedecisionsofwhich
welfarecriteriaarefavouredandthevaluesappliedtomake
thesedecisionswillneedtobemadetransparent.
Layer7engageswithallaspectsofinterspecies
sustainability,includinghumanhorserelationships,animal
integrity,animalcultures,agencyandmore.Some
advocatestendedtoengagewithsometransformative
idealsforthoroughbredprotectionexpressedinthislayer
(e.g.animalagencyandintegrity).Someindustryinfor
mantsshowedsomeinterestinhumanhorserelationships
andhorseindividualitybutnotinatransformativesenseby
questioningspecieshierarchiesandintegratingaspects
suchasanimalagencyandintegrity.
Layer8isconstitutedofthesocial,culturalandpolitical
realmsandstrategies.Itreferstoanimalrepresentationand
participationingovernance,administration,regulatory
institutionsandthejudiciary.Neitherindustrynoradvocacy
informantshaveengagedatthislayerwithinthecontextof
sustainabilityasyet.Engagementatthislayerisindispen
sableforsustainabilityandthoroughbredprotection.Both
Layers7and8requirechangesatthelevelofparadigm,i.e.
fundamentalsetsofbeliefs.
Conclusion
Thereisadeepchasmbetweenthoroughbredprotection
needsandindustrysustainabilitypriorities.Itappears
thoroughbredswillcontinuetobeexposedtounacceptable
threatstotheirwelfareandtotheirlives.Atbest,themost
visibleegregiouspracticesmaybesomewhatcurtailed
sometimeinthefuture,butthetrajectoryissetat
continuedandincreasinglyrefinedexploitation.The
thoroughbredindustryisnotwellplacedtorespondtoan
interspeciessustainabilityframework.
Theindustryinformantsarestrugglingagainstforceswithin
theindustryitselfstrivingtomaintainthestatusquo.While
thethoroughbredprotectionfocusofindustryprogressives
isontechnobiomedicalmanagement,therootofmost
welfareissuesandthreatstoanimalprotectionarebasedin
thesocioculturalandpoliticaldomains,andatthelevelof
paradigm.
Thelayersofengagementcanbeemployedasananalytical
tooltoidentifyatwhatlayer(s)aparticulardiscourseinthe
interfaceofsustainabilityandthoroughbredprotectionis
situated.Adiscoursecanoccuratdifferentlayers
concurrently,anditcanmoveupanddownalongthese
layers.Itisimportanttoassessatwhichlayer(s)the
discoursetakesplacetoensureengagementofthose
aspectsandlayers(Layers78)thatleadtotransformation
forthoroughbredprotectionspecifically,andanimal
protectioningeneral.Thereisanurgentneedfor
stakeholdersandsocietyatlargetobetterunderstandthe
interdependenceofsustainabilityandanimalprotection.
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