The Australian Veterinary Association has called on NSW Racing Minister Troy Grant to mediate in a bid to avoid a brewing confrontation between Racing NSW and veterinarians working in the racing industry.

Racing NSW is to introduce the licencing of racing vets from July 1, a move the Australian Veterinary Association maintains is unfair and will force its members to stop working within the racing industry.

Equine Veterinarians Australia, a special interest group of the Australian Veterinary Association, says the new licence could impact on veterinary services and the racing industry as a whole.

EVA Vice President Dr Ian Fulton said that vets are already licensed by the NSW Veterinary Practitioners Board and the terms of the licence proposed by Racing NSW is unnecessary.

“Under the terms of the licence, Racing NSW can revoke a vet’s licence at any time and for no reason. This could have a profound impact on a vet’s livelihood without fair and just review processes,” Dr Fulton said.

“The licence conditions also forbid vets from making public comments concerning any matter that the racing stewards are dealing with. This would restrict a vet’s professional obligation to speak up when an animal’s welfare is at stake.”

“Many of our members have told us they will have no choice but to end their involvement with racing rather than agree to a draconian and unfair licence when they are already regulated by the government.

“There are 140 race clubs in rural and regional NSW that are likely to be affected. Many vets contribute to their local race club on race day as a community service and will no longer be willing to do so if the proposed licensing system becomes a reality.”

Dr Fulton said Racing Minister Troy Grant and Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair need to act as mediators in the brewing dispute.

“It’s the job of the NSW Veterinary Practitioners Board and the Racing NSW Board to come together and work out a suitable resolution that’s fair and reasonable,” said Dr Fulton.

“We call on the Minister for Racing and the Minister for Primary Industries to make this happen as a matter of urgency.”