Ways HorseTech can help the Equine Industry communicate & maintain it’s Social Licence

Lessons from Farming

Brian Rushe has produced a great paper on ‘Speaking Up For Agriculture – Protecting Farming’s Social Licence’. Lot’s of thought provoking information in there and it has me thinking we should host a Social License panel at the next HorseTech Conference and get a Social Licence chapter added to the HorseTech Market Report. Get in touch if you’d like to contribute to any of this or if you have suggestions.

Defence against Social Media attacks on the ethics of racing

Social media commentary on the 2018 Melbourne Cup was dominated by the euthanasia of the Irish horse ‘Cliffs of Mother’ after a injury. It’s incredible that for all the smart people in the racing industry no one has really stepped forward to challenge the ill founded commentary online.

In elite athletic pursuits there will always be injuries and because horses are biologically so different from humans it’s important to have quality resources that can remind lay commentators about the lack of viable recovery options and the need for euthanasia.

There’s also important ground work to be done communicating to the public news about the exceptionally high quality healthcare that’s being provided behind the scenes. There are plenty of very obvious examples of this eg. refusal to vaccinate a child is now a global health threat and that the Australian government is issuing Measles Alerts because although Australia has had a vaccine program from the 1970s many parents think they know better and are refusing to get their children immunised. Why not point out that not only has every racehorse got to have a comprehensive up to date vaccination record but that this is enforced and is available digitally (unlike the paper based records Parents have to make do with for their children) and the FEI has approved digital vaccine records for horses (you can read more about this in the chapter of the HorseTech Market Report on Vaccines by Dr Barbara Blasko MD from ElectronicVet.com).

Antibiotic Resistance

The high toxicology and lack of benefit for the growth accelerating effects of antibiotics (that incentivises prophylaxis use of antibiotics in livestock) make horses rather unique  especially as we all now know that low-dose antibiotics in animal feed are fueling drug-resistance in humans.

It’s interesting to note that microbiome therapies are commonplace in the Equine market and contrast this with the human healthcare market eg. check out the Microbiology chapter in the HorseTech Market Report and contrast this with the ridiculous placebos they get away with selling in government healthcare organisations (the NHS spends £90Million a year on branded peppermint drinks that are claimed to help fix ‘reflux’!).

Salt Therapy is already becoming widespread in thoroughbred stables but the Royal Marsden has the only one in the NHS. Contrast that with the appetite for paying for drug therapies like Orkambi (from Vertex Pharmaceuticals costing £100,000 per Patient per year. There are 10,000 Patients with Cystic Fibrosis being treated by the NHS in the UK).

Government programmes don’t create the future of medicine

Run someone is coming with government funding! This is why I was paid not to talk to Endocrinologists about how inexpensive mobile technology can transform diabetes care.

The future of the healthcare industry is moving from todays bloated government designed and administered sick care industry and the world’s biggest tech companies fully understand this (eg. the world’s biggest corporation is Apple and they see their healthcare brand dwarfing their current business as they are in the fortunate position where they don’t have to focus on reimbursement).

There are good reasons why inexpensive regenerative medicine therapies aren’t being adopted in the human healthcare market. Hospitals with huge operating wings and hundreds of beds will naturally want to do orthopaedic surgery and provide chemotherapy because taking some of your blood out and processing it through a lab will kill jobs (there will be far less need for hip surgery if stem cells can give new life to cartilage) and slash drug budgets (no need for £100,000 oncology drugs if Patients are making their own medicines and they can be extracted by processing a blood draw). Read the chapter on regenerative medicine by Prof Tim Watson and it’ll be clear that Equine Medicine offers the potential for much quicker adoption, better in-market surveillance and also affords the opportunity to identify side effects and undo unknown harms if they come to light (in stark contrast to what happens with human regenerative medicine).

Medical Record data hoarding

The human healthcare industry is still about hoarding Patient Data because there is more commercial value to be had from using/abusing Patient data than from sharing it with Patients.

We were very proud to have a Consultant Paediatrician present (and sponsor with the provision of a Health MOT for all delegates in his Harley Street Clinic) at our previous conferences. He’s one of the very rare Medics who has been sharing his medical notes with his Patients for 30+ years but the reality for most (especially those who have to endure public healthcare systems) is that their dogs will have more joined up health records than their sick daughters…

A thousand cuts…

Concerted efforts to ban the whip are being made by people who have no idea how to control a thoroughbred and will not be satisfied even when the whip is banned (they will move to the next thing until the sport cannot be safely conducted). The Equestrian trade press struggles because it’s complex to go into the detail that’s needed to properly understand issues and so the industry is quietly awaiting the day when a democratic vote can be put before the electorate and then it’s sadly game over for what is probably humanities oldest living culture (just as we saw happen in Florida recently when Greyhound Racing was banned when a binary vote was requested of a democratic population who have little/no interest or experience of the sport or the good people who work in it).


If you have anything else you think I should/could add to this post please feel encouraged to write in the comments on email me via david@HorseTechConference.com

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