The racing year ends on July 31 every year, and starts again on August 1, also known as the ‘Horses’ Birthday’. The racing industry deems it a time of celebration – but is it?
4 years ago, the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses began researching the number of racehorses that died on Australian racetracks every year. We knew there was a lot, we would read about them in the media, receive messages to our Facebook page from the public and concerned participants – and we even saw horses continue to die in the Melbourne Cup. But we never expected so many.
Since the commencement of our annual ‘Deathwatch Report’ – horses have continued to die at alarming rates. And this year, it’s no different.
In fact, it’s the worst year on record.
From the racing year of 1 August 2016 until 31 July 2017, a shocking 137 racehorses died on Australian racetracks. That’s one racehorse every 2.6 days.
75 of these racehorses died of catastrophic limb injuries – breaks, tears and fractures of their forelegs. But horses also died of hind leg injuries, cardiac arrests, massive bleeds — even head trauma.
Almost half of them had raced as 2-year-olds; pre-disposing them to long term cumulative injury further on down the track if they didn’t die young.
But these deaths are just the tip of the iceberg – many thousands more are killed when they finish their racing ‘careers’ and no longer profitable. These horses are known as wastage.
As more and more information about the ugly side of the racing industry coming to light, it’s no wonder that there’s a growing number of people choosing not to support horse racing cruelty. So with the Spring Racing Carnival fast approaching, remember that making kind choices can change the world for racehorses.