Tara van der Minne is drawing on her past involvement with councils and not-for-profits to advance animal welfare programs at Harness Racing Victoria.

The Animal Welfare Investigative Steward shares her background, her role and what makes her tick in the latest Integrity Matters Q&A.

Tell us about your career background?

I first started my career working both at a boarding kennel and an equestrian centre, caring day to day for the animals onsite. I then moved onto a role at the RSPCA, where I cared for many types of animals however my role mainly consisted of caring for and managing the welfare of the ‘dangerous dogs’ that had been seized by councils after they had attacked another animal or person. After several years at the RSPCA, I decided to move onto a role with my local council, which had various components including animal management and welfare, local laws, emergency management and parking enforcement.

What is your role at Harness Racing Victoria and what does that involve?

My current role title is Animal Welfare Investigative Steward, my role mainly consists of welfare checks when reports are made and organising stable inspections for our participants to ensure the AHRR are being adhered to.

You have been assisting with the HERO program, tell us more about that?

I have been helping HERO by contacting people within the industry as well as past participants within the HERO program to gather feedback to plan for the future. I have used my previous experience within the equestrian industry to gather appropriate new re-trainers for the expansion of the HERO program.

What does integrity mean to you?

Integrity to me, from a welfare perspective, means that ensuring the care and well-being of the horse comes first. If there is a breach in legislation it will be treated with utmost importance and followed up in a professional manor. I think it is extremely important to treat all people with respect and equality and for participants to respectfully react when enforcement is needed.