Korea Racing Authority Responds To Equine Welfare Critiques, Restricting Imports Due To COVID Uncertainty

POSTED ON  |  03-01-2021

South Korea Racing
Following is a statement from the Korea Racing Authority regarding its racing program through COVID-19 and equine welfare issues. The matter of equine welfare in Korea gained national attention on Dec. 16 when The Stronach Group endorsed People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals' call to ban the sale of Thoroughbreds to South Korean racing interests, in the wake of a video revealing that former U.S. stallion Private Vow was sent to slaughter in the country.

KRA has temporarily restricted foreign-bred horses imported after Nov. 15, 2020 from being registered to race at Korean racetracks next year. This measure is valid for the year of 2021, and was implemented with the following background;
  1. KRA has tried to walk in line with the Korean government's quarantine policies by minimizing overseas traveling related to purchasing of foreign-bred horses.
  2. Owners have suffered a reduction of purchasing power due to the reduced number of races and prize money that resulted from the COVID-19 outbreak and strict social distancing rules.
    1. The total number of races in Korea have been reduced by 56 percent
    2. Total prize money for owners has been reduced by 27 percent
  3. Demand for race horses has dropped dramatically due to the uncertainty over racing next year. The expected return of buying and owning a horse has been significantly reduced under the KRA Emergency Racing System.
    1. KRA Emergency Racing System: Racing fixtures will be released only on a quarterly basis with a reduced number of races (number of races planned for first quarter of 2021 has been reduced by 38 percent and the total owner prize money by 60 percent year on year).
  4. The Korean breeding industry is in a state of near-collapse, as the non-racing period continued longer than expected, and was in desperate need of protective measures.
With regard to aftercare for retired Thoroughbreds, the KRA has established and is operating the Retired Racehorse Management Program. It has benchmarked aftercare programs worldwide. It includes funding for professional institutions that re-train retired racehorses to help them transition into a second career. The fund to run the program comes partially from prize money and partially from a donation from the KRA.

© 2015 IGSRV All rights reserved.