03/28/2012 1:05PM

Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance outlines accreditation requirements

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LEXINGTON, Ky. – The Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance, a Thoroughbred industry initiative formed in February to accredit racehorse retirement and retraining facilities, on Wednesday published its preliminary code of standards for organizations applying for its accreditation.

The code covers five areas: general operations, education, horse health care management, facility standards and services, and adoption policies and protocols. The complete, detailed code will be available for public comment online at www.thoroughbredaftercare.org through Monday, April 2. Broadly, TAA accreditation requirements in each area are as follows:

◗ Operations: Operational stability, financial transparency, sound and ethical business practices, responsible use of resources, and adherence to applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations. The organization must have federal not-for-profit status as a 501(c)(3) and must have been in operation for at least three years.

◗ Education: Cooperative work with the Thoroughbred racing community to share media resources and increase public awareness of Thoroughbred aftercare throughout the horse racing industry. “All media presented either via press release, Internet, articles, or interviews should portray a positive outlook on Thoroughbred Aftercare and the racing industry,” according to the code.

◗ Health care: All facilities “shall provide the necessary care needed to ensure that each horse’s physical needs are being met. Qualified staff members or volunteers should work directly with a veterinarian to create a balanced health care management plan” for the type of horses in their program. The code also calls for “a written euthanasia policy consistent with that of the American Association or Equine Practitioners or American Veterinary Medical Association, and documentation of the policy application” and including protocols for disposal of dead horses in accordance with local, state, or federal regulations. There must also be a written policy on stallion castration, except in the case of stallion retirement programs.

◗ Facility standards and services: The TAA will assess facilities “based on the type of horses in the organization’s care (e.g. horses on permanent retirement, horses being rehabilitated, horses receiving training for a second career.)” The code generally calls for a safe environment meeting the physical and psychological needs of each horse.

◗ Adoption policies and protocols: Organizations that adopt or foster out their horses “should have set policies to ensure proper placement of each horse and to provide follow-up” for those horses sent to others’ care. Among other requirements, they must have protocols and liability insurance in place to allow potential adopters to test ride horses before adoption.