This paper analyzes the effect New Jersey’s decline in horse racing has on the state’s veterinarians. More specifically, the study looks on several veterinarian practices’ revenue and staff size over the last five years. The data gathered suggests that only veterinarians involved in racehorse breeding (vs those in horse racing) were negatively impacted by the industry’s decline.
New Jersey’s share in the $122 billion dollar equine industry was estimated at $1.1 billion in 2007 (largely from horse racing). Despite the industry’s evident importance to the state economy, horse racing and racehorse breeding both experienced an overall decline in New Jersey over the last five years. This study looks at veterinarians, a group closely linked to the equine industry, hypothesizing that the industry’s decline has a negative effect on their business.
A survey was sent out in October 2018, distributed online with the help of the New Jersey Association of Equine Practitioners (sent to its members via email). Several follow up emails were sent to ensure a sufficient number of responses were received. The survey consisted of ten multiple choice questions about veterinary practices' involvement in horse racing/racehorse breeding and revenue associated with them.
51 out of 105 licensed equine veterinarians responded to the survey. 48% of practices reported a decrease in revenue over the past five years due to changes in horse racing. 22% reported no change and 30% reported an increase in revenue over this period. 44% of practices reported a decrease in their staff size, 17% reported no change, and 39% reported an increase in staff. Of practices reporting a loss in revenue, 42% reported decreases between 31% and 40%. Of practices reporting an increase in revenue, 33% reported an increase between 0%% and 10%%.
52% of the veterinarians which responded were not involved in racehorse breeding. Of the 52% which were, 91% reported a decrease in revenue over the past five years (with 9% experiencing an 81% to 90% decrease in revenue).
The data clearly suggests that veterinarians directly involved in racehorse breeding were hit hardest by NJ’s equine industry decline.
The study expresses surprise at the fact that veterinarians involved in only horse racing (not breeding) did not demonstrate a significant loss in revenue or staff. This suggests that horse veterinary treatment in the state is still in demand even if the horses are not racing in-state. The paper notes that NJ’s geographical location creates the possibility that racehorses may be housed in the state and raced outside its borders.