Randwick City Councillor Philipa Veitch will on Tuesday 26 November put forward a strong motion to condemn the Australian racing industry and withdraw all future support of Randwick racecourse related events.
Just weeks after a passionate debate unfolded in the City of Melbourne Future Melbourne meeting regarding the ethics of horse racing and its inherent cruelty, Randwick City Council will now too debate the topic and vote on the City’s ongoing support of the industry.
Randwick City Councillors need to hear from you!
Please email the following councillors immediately (all in one email is fine) and express your strong support of the motion which can be read below.
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- Notes the shocking footage of the cruel treatment and slaughter of racehorses on 7.30 Report on October 17, and its allegations that thousands of racehorses are being sent to slaughterhouses despite public commitments from the Racing Industry to rehome them after they have been retired;
- Condemns the systemic cruelty and ‘wastage’ produced by the horse racing industry;
- Write to the CEO of Racing NSW, Peter V’landys and the Premier of NSW, The Hon Gladys Berejiklian:
- Expressing our strong condemnation of these and other practices that inflict suffering and cause the premature death of racehorses;
- Calling for immediate action to protect the welfare of all current and retired racehorses in NSW;
- Write to the CEO of The Royal Randwick Racecourse, notifying them of this motion, and of council’s intention to cease further involvement in Racing events at the Royal Randwick Racecourse.
Around 15,000 thoroughbred foals are bred each year in Australia, with approximately 31,000 thoroughbreds and a similar number of Standardbreds ‘in training’ or racing at any one time. There are no mandatory welfare standards for racehorses. Therefore, legal protection is limited to the minimal requirements under State based animal welfare legislation. During their short careers, race horses are subject to many practices that inflict unnecessary pain and suffering.
The RSPCA is opposed to the use of whips due to their potential to inflict pain and injury and believes that the use of whips cannot be justified given that performance is influenced more by genetics, preparation and rider skill.
Two other types of equipment used on racehorses are tongue ties and spurs. A tongue tie is a piece of nylon or elastic that is wrapped tightly around the tongue and tied to the lower jaw to keep the tongue in place during a race. Restricting the movement of the tongue in this way causes discomfort and can lead to permanent injury. Spurs, which are made of metal and are attached to the back of riding boots, exert sharp pressure when the jockey squeezes or kicks the horse in the flank area.
Despite their adverse impacts, the use of whips, tongue-ties and spurs is officially endorsed by racing authorities. One specific type of equipment which has been outlawed is an electric shock device known as a jigger. A jigger is a battery-powered device which delivers an electric shock when applied to the horse’s skin, causing significant pain and long-term distress when associated with other cues. Possession or use of a jigger is a breach of the rules of racing and is an act of cruelty under animal welfare legislation. Despite their clear illegality, some trainers and jockeys still choose to use these devices to coerce horses in a desperate attempt to win races.
The vast majority of thoroughbreds and standardbred horses fail to run fast enough or become injured and are just ‘discarded’ by the racing industry.
Some horses considered unwanted (‘wastage’) by the racing industry will be sold on for riding, eventing or other uses, but the majority will not be wanted and are likely to be sent for slaughter, either directly through auctions or ‘eventually’ when they have no further use.
A study conducted by researchers at the University of Sydney by Hayek AR, Jones B, Evans DL, Thomson PC and McGreevy PD attempted to track ex-racing horses. Similar to other studies they found almost 40% of racehorses leave the industry each year due to poor performance, illness or injury or behavioural or other problems.
Many failed or older racehorses will be destined for slaughter, and may go to local knackeries — to be used for pet meat, for example — or be purchased for slaughter at the two horse abattoirs in Australia (Peterborough in SA and Caboolture in QLD). Approximately 2,000 tonnes of horse meat is exported from Australia for human consumption in Japan and Europe annually (ABS figures). Over 25,000 horses per year are killed in this way in Australia.
The dark side of Australia’s horse racing industry | 7.30
Cr Philipa Veitch