Authority conducts institutional reforms in time for the entry into force of the Act on the Promotion of the Horse Industry
The Korea Racing Authority (KRA) is poised to have a new mission: nurturing the horse livestock industry.
As the Act on the Promotion of the Horse Industry, enacted last year, goes into force this year, the domestic racing community could face a crisis or it could find new opportunities.
KRA Chairman Jang Tae-pyong is striving to transform the KRA into a brand new public organization charged with integrated equine jobs ranging from the promotion of livestock to equine information and education services.
The Korean horse racing industry now does not have a bright future °™ continuing restrictions by the National Gaming Control Commission and no improvement in public perception toward horse racing coupled with the slowing of sales growth as the global horse racing industry declines.
Despite these uncertainties, the horse racing industry will undergo institutional reform. In particular, out of the taxes collected from horse racing, 1.2 trillion won is funneled annually into local governments’ coffers for regional development, while another 400 billion won is contributed as funds for improving the agriculture and livestock industries.
Chairman Jang said in an interview, “I believe that these functions will be a prerequisite essential in the years to come.” Taking a look at the level of Korean horse racing, he said, they are still a far cry from those of advanced horse racing countries with a history of natural settlement in that the former has a lower public base, a challenge for the Korean horse racing industry that needs to be addressed.
The horse industry involves horse production as the primary industry; meat processing, diverse horse racing contests and horse racing devices in the secondary industry; horse racing services in the tertiary industry; and information and educational services on horsing racing and riding in the quaternary industry.
The KRA has so far had business portfolios focusing on horse racing, but since the Act on the Promotion of the Horse Industry was legislated in 2011, the industry will be reborn into a full-fledged body wholly committed to all equine affairs. Jang hopes that the horse industry will serve not just as a breakthrough to rescue the rural economy from the ramifications of the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, but also as a golden opportunity to develop it into one of the nation’s mainstay industries.
The KRA chairman said he will attach priority to having the government’s five-year horse industry development plan in place and building a foundation to translate it into action during this year.
To this end, the KRA has been revamped to include a division in charge of the horse industry, said the chairman, adding that once the KRA is designated as a body responsible for fostering the horse industry, it will get down to the new mission of nurturing the industry in earnest.
Specifically, he said, the KRA is considering conducting R&D activities and surveys through the establishment of a horse industry research institute and the introduction of a national equine qualification system in the second half of this year.
The establishment of an institution for educating equine manpower, the designation of special zones for fostering the horse industry, the production of horse breeds, and the inauguration of breeding companies will be materialized in the second half, he said.
Jang said the nation badly needs to build infrastructure to develop horse riding into one of the public’s favorite sports. In order to expand the horse riding base, there should be horse riding instructors, there should be many people who can enjoy riding, and there should be fully-furnished equine facilities in the neighborhoods, and competitions will have to be held to show off learned skills, he said.
The KRA aims at raising horse stocks for riding from the current 5,000 to 10,000, equine facilities from 290 to 500, and the horse riding population from 25,000 to 50,000 by 2015.