At this time of year, many people get carried away with the so-called ‘glamour’ and the ‘excitement’ of the Spring Racing Carnival, but we should not forget that there is a darker, not-so-glamorous side to the racing industry, Victorian Greens Animal Welfare spokesperson, Sue Pennicuik MLC said today.
“It is estimated that 125 horses, or around one every three days, die on the race track or just after racing.*
“Thousands of racehorses that don’t ‘make it are sent to knackeries and abattoirs every year (RSPCA). This could be alleviated by examining horse breeding practices and introducing an open and comprehensive rehabilitation and retirement plan for racehorses.
"Jumps racing has long been banned in most of Australia, but inexplicably, is still allowed in Victoria and South Australia.
"Horses aren't designed for jumping over hurdles or steeples at speed and over long distances and the injuries they suffer, such as broken necks and legs - are horrific. Despite numerous reviews and promises to clean up jumps racing, horses continue to die and suffer terrible injuries in jumps events and trials.”
"Jumps racing cannot be made safe. It should be banned once and for all,” Ms Pennicuik said.
"Gambling revenue was up to $355.4 million last financial year according to Racing Victoria. It's an industry completely reliant on gambling, and Governments addicted to revenue have failed to take any meaningful steps toward better welfare for horses.
“The racing industry pretty well does what it wants to as successive Labor and Liberal / National party governments have been too close to it and Racing Ministers do too much promoting and not enough regulating," Ms Pennicuik said.
“It is time that the racing industry looked at changing practices that lead to over exerting animals such as whipping. The use of the whip in horse racing is cruel and unnecessary and should be banned.
"The age at which horses start racing and what types of events they compete in should also be examined," Ms Pennicuik said. "It seems to me that racing horses that are too young is all about making money and not about animal welfare.
“There are measures that can be taken to make horse racing safer for horses and the racing industry should implement them instead of demonising people who raise legitimate criticisms of its practices.”
*Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses