Anthony Stirk reduced racing fatalities by a third
The British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) senior veterinary advisor has been recognised for his work helping to improve the welfare of racing thoroughbreds.
Anthony Stirk received the Outstanding Veterinary Achievement Award at the 29th Animal Health Trust (AHT) UK Equestrian Awards Dinner (31 October). Judges said that his input ‘has been fundamental to the success of the UK’s various racing authorities’ fatal and long-term injuries.’
The AHT said: “He began collecting and computerizing fatality data with Weatherbys in 1999 and subsequently introduced a parallel system for recording long-term injuries.
“By ensuring that data has been collected rigorously ever since, it has been possible to introduce practical solutions to enable racecourses and race planners to reduce risk on the basis of evidence rather than speculation.
“As a direct consequence, racing fatalities have been reduced by one third in the last 20 years.”
The Outstanding Veterinary Achievement Award is named in honour of Dr Reginald Wooldridge who founded the first Veterinary Education Trust in 1942. The award recognises a sustained and exemplary contribution to the work and understanding of equine vets.
Anthony Stirk commented: “I feel a bit like Aidan O’Brien must after one of his group 1 successes, though I somehow doubt I will achieve another 25! Anyway, like him, I must stress I’ve had the cooperation and support of a wide range of people in the racing industry.”
He added: “Hopefully the progress in injury reduction on the racecourse will continue, and that we will be able to extend our understanding of the risk factors involved in injury to the in-training area.”
David Sykes, director of equine health and welfare, said: “This is a truly deserved award for Anthony. In my short time at the BHA, I've witnessed his drive and work to improve the environment and conditions of our sport’s superstars first hand, and I am thrilled that this has been appropriately recognised by the wider equine community.”
Image (C) British Horseracing Authority.