Racing Victoria introduces new veterinary permit

15 Aug 2021

Racing Victoria (RV), with the support of Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA), has today taken steps to help increase industry standards and improve licensee accountability by introducing a new veterinary permit.

The introduction of the new veterinary permit means that from 1 October 2021 licensed trainers must use a permitted veterinarian for any veterinary services provided to a horse under their care that is in training and/or competing in Victoria.

The two exceptions to this allow for a non-permitted veterinarian to provide veterinary services in circumstances where the health or welfare of a horse is at risk and a permitted veterinarian is not available, or where the RV Stewards have given prior approval but only after a trainer has not been able (after reasonable attempts) to obtain the services of a permitted veterinarian.

The veterinary permit was a key recommendation in the Fair Racing for All Report endorsed by the RV Board in October 2019 following consultation with industry participants and stakeholders.

Subsequently, RV sought feedback from the Australian Trainers' Association (ATA) and EVA on the new rules pertaining to permitted veterinarians to help shape the parameters of the Veterinary Permit Policy.

The Veterinary Permit Policy which outlines a permitted veterinarian’s obligations and RV Stewards’ powers under the Rules of Racing can be read in full, by clicking here.

With applications now open, RV with the support of the EVA will work closely with veterinarians to assist them through the veterinary permit application process to ensure they meet their obligations by 1 October 2021.

To further assist, RV will also conduct two virtual information sessions for both veterinarians and trainers in the next fortnight for those wishing to obtain more information or ask questions relating to the application process.

Those granted a veterinary permit by RV, like other Victorian racing licensed and registered participants, will be required to renew their permit before each racing season.

In addition to the new veterinary permit, a new Victorian Local Rule of Racing will be introduced on 1 October 2021, which establishes a process by which RV Stewards may determine to decline or reject any nominations from a licensed trainer in circumstances where that licensed trainer has outstanding fees in excess of $5,000 owed to a permitted veterinarian.

The new local rule seeks to mitigate the risk of licensed trainers owing large debts to permitted veterinarians, but also obliges that procedural fairness will be afforded to licensed trainers before any action is taken under the rule. This includes requiring that the permitted veterinarian provide sufficient documentary evidence (including a statutory declaration) when lodging their claim, and that the licensed trainer be given an appropriate opportunity to respond.

Before any action will be considered by RV Stewards, the licensed trainer must have been sent at least two notices more than a month apart by the permitted veterinarian that the payment of fees for their veterinary services is outstanding.

To read more about the new Local Rule of Racing, please click here.

Quotes attributable to RV General Manager Veterinary Services, Dr Grace Forbes:

“The introduction of the veterinary permit was first outlined in the Fair Racing for All Report in 2019 following a wide-ranging consultation period with industry stakeholders to improve standards within the sport, including licensing and accreditation.

“Subsequently, we engaged with and welcomed constructive feedback from the EVA and ATA on the new rules pertaining to permitted veterinarians. This was crucial in formalising the Veterinary Permit Policy.

“The veterinary permit will be required from 1 October 2021, and RV will work closely with veterinarians to assist them through the application process to ensure licensed trainers meet their obligations under the new rules.

“RV will also continue to consult with the EVA and ATA, in informing and clarifying rules and protocols that will apply to veterinarians working with thoroughbred racehorses in Victoria.”

Quotes attributable to EVA President, Dr Steve Dennis:

“In 2019, EVA was informed of RV’s intention to implement a compulsory permit system for veterinarians servicing thoroughbred trainers and their horses, racing and training in Victoria.

“Since then, EVA, with the assistance of a member panel, has been involved in an ongoing consultation process with RV to ensure that every detail of the proposed permit system was considered thoroughly, to secure a fair outcome for the veterinarians involved.

“Clarification was also sought for any potentially ambiguous points within the proposal. As a result of the consultation, a new racing rule has been established, which will assist veterinarians with recovering outstanding veterinary fees - an extremely positive outcome for EVA members.

“EVA member feedback played an important role in guiding our consultation process, to assist with understanding the implications for, and obligations of, veterinarians under the proposed system.

“RV have made a commitment to EVA to conduct quarterly consultation meetings to reassess the rollout of the permit system. EVA will continue to assist RV to ensure the obligations under this system are fair, and not onerous for the permitted veterinarians.”

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on 0439 628 898 or

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health, and welfare.