SBC News HWB appoints new members to complete equine welfare strategy

HWB appoints new members to complete equine welfare strategy

Three new members have been appointed to the Horse Welfare Board (HWB) to continue British horseracing’s commitment to the highest standards of animal welfare, safety, and aftercare.

The HWB serves as the independent body on equine care and welfare standards reporting to the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). The board continues to prioritise the principal objectives of its “A Life Well Lived” strategy established in 2020 to implement an overarching welfare regime for the care of horses bred for British racing.

Since launching the five-year project, the Welfare Board has established ‘21 of 26 identified projects’, covering improvement of duties and practices on the traceability of horses bred, quality of life, prevention of harms, and aftercare responsibilities.

Continuing its initiatives, the Welfare Board welcomes Sulekha Varma, who currently serves as the Head Clerk of Aintree Racecourse, as a new board member. An expert in racing, Varma is at the helm of British racing’s biggest fixture, the Randox Grand National.

HWB further strengthened its knowledge of breeding by appointing Kate Sigsworth, Deputy Chair of the Thoroughbred Breeders Association (TBA), as a representative for the Thoroughbred Group.

Media strategist Robin Mounsey, who currently serves as Head of Communications for the BHA, has joined the Welfare Board to help promote its high-profile projects and communicate to stakeholders on welfare-related and reputational issues.

Varma remarked: “I’m thrilled to be joining the board and help continue to drive the momentum achieved over the past few years. A proactive welfare strategy is essential for the sport to survive and thrive, and I look forward to contributing what we’re learning at our track, and all Jockey Club racecourses, for improved safety across the sport.’ 

The new members will replace Caroline Davies, Alison Enticknap, and Charlie Liverton, who will step down from the board as of February 2024 after five years.

The HWB is supported by The Racing Foundation and Horserace Betting Levy Board (HBLB). Since its inception, the Racing Foundation has awarded the HWB over £3.5m (including a grant of £3m over three years to progress welfare projects from the strategy), and the HBLB has provided £2.2m.

Barry Johnson, Independent Chair of the HWB, said: ‘We’re delighted to welcome Sulekha, Kate, and Robin to the team at such a pivotal time for the board, with the culmination of several key projects this year. 

“Their combined knowledge spans the entire sport and will be of huge value to us as we enter the final phase of our current five-year strategy. And a huge thanks to Caroline, Alison, and Charlie for their contribution to the HWB over the past five years.”

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