It’s been a while since our last newsletter and there’s so much to talk about. Despite Covid-19 wreaking havoc in all facets of our lives, CPR is still working behind the scenes on many different fronts whilst we also prepare for the upcoming Spring Carnival, in whatever shape or form it takes, and beyond.
In this Newsletter:
Racing continues through COVID-19
Ongoing fall out from ABC’s ‘The Final Race’
CPR makes a submission to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group
Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys legal action
Racing Victoria announces moves towards banning the whip
Jumps Racing 2020 Update
CPR New Zealand presents petition to Parliament
International groups against horse racing are growing
Spring Carnival plans
RACING CONTINUES THROUGH COVID-19
So much is up in the air at the moment. However, one thing that isn’t is horse racing. Racing has been the only “sport” allowed to continue in Victoria throughout the state’s Stage 4 lockdown. Horse racing has recently had its first COVID-19 case confirmed. Instead of doing what the rest of the state is forced to do (shut down), Racing Victoria is allowed to self-regulate and stewards are left to determine which horses, jockeys and trainers can participate. According to this article, Racing Victoria had the authority to allow stood down jockeys and trainers to compete in races the very next day at Moe and Ballarat subject to test results. Now, we’re confident that if the rest of us were in a similar situation, we’d be quarantined for 2 weeks and for obvious reasons – test results aren’t always accurate so soon after infection.
Why is the racing industry yet again allowed to make their own rules and risk the well-being of every Victorian?
We’d also like Victorian premier Daniel Andrews to explain what “the significant animal welfare issues” are that he states as a reason for the industry needing to continue when so many others cannot? It’s quite simple really. You can still exercise the horses – just don’t race them (here’s just one beautiful example of how that can be done). Or at least come clean and tell us the real reason why racing is allowed to continue and that is ‘the gambling dollar’.
If there’s another outbreak of COVID-19 as a result, the Andrews Government and Racing Victoria will have human blood on their hands, not just horses.
See our short video on how it is just not possible to social distance in horse racing here and sign our petition to have horse racing shutdown through the COVID-19 crisis here.
FALL OUT FROM ABC’S ‘THE FINAL RACE‘
There is no doubt that the 7.30 story The Final Race (watch here) that aired in October last year sent shock waves around not only Australia but also the world. It’s now been 11 months since the story broke and you may be wondering, what has actually changed? Here’s a summary:
Queensland Government Inquiry into Racehorse Abuse
As was reported in our last newsletter in February this year, the Inquiry into Animal Cruelty in the Management of Retired Thoroughbred and Standardbred Horses in Queenslandrevealed damning evidence of animal abuse and called for widespread sweeping changes to the industry. In case you missed the report and our position on its findings, you can view them here
CPR makes submission to the Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group (TAWWG)
The racing industry had to finally act and at least make the effort to appear to be addressing welfare concerns raised in the exposé. They formed a committee headed by former Victorian premier, Denis Napthine, to address the welfare of horses and called for submissions. CPR lodged a submission which you can view here.
CPR had an online meeting with the TAWWG committee on 7 September and we did not hold back in saying that if they are serious about the welfare of horses, there is a long list of issues they need to address.
NSW Racing CEO, Peter V’landys, sues the ABC for defamation
Peter V’landys who was interviewed in the story, The Final Race, is suing the ABC and reporter Caro Meldrum-Hannah for defamation claiming he was hurt by the contents of the story. Whilst in court, V’landys stated he had not even bothered to watch the report he was suing for.
The Racing NSW CEO claims not to have known about horses being sent to slaughter and that certainly no horses under his jurisdiction were killed. We disagree emphatically. From the story, just one example cited 14 horses killed on the same day from the same NSW stud who were mostly one and two-year-olds that were under his jurisdiction. See our yet to be publicly released short video telling the heartbreaking story of the Hardwicke Stud horses here.
The case continues and the outcome will have important ramifications for future investigative stories. We would like to again personally thank the ABC and Caro Meldrum-Hannah and her team for their courage in telling the story and wish them well with the upcoming court case.
Systemic breaches to EU Commission standards exposed
The horrors of the Australian racing industry’s ruthless treatment of horses caught the attention of the Animal Welfare Foundation Tierschutzbund Zurich. The team made the trip to Australia earier this year and worked with CPR to further investigate Australian practices relating to the export of horse flesh for human consumption to the EU market. This horse flesh all comes from horses killed at the Meramist slaughterhouse.
What they unsurprisingly found was ongoing and systemic breaches to the standards set by the EU Commission for horse flesh imports from Australia into European markets, including the high probability that the horse meat being consumed across Europe contains dangerous drug residues.
The group released a powerful documentary (watch here) and detailed dossier resulting in extensive European media coverage on the issue.
Last years Australian senate inquiry into the feasibility of a national horse traceability register had already pointed out this concern, highlighting that the existing Australian horse traceability system does not meet EU standards. Even the last EU audit report from 2019 concludes that the recommendations regarding traceability of previous audits have not been properly addressed, in particular concerning the reliability of the medical treatment declarations of the horse vendors.
An international coalition of animal welfare groups has been formed and is calling for a ban on Australian horse meat imports to the EU market due to ongoing and systemic breaches to EU Commission regulations. The EU Commission and importers must immediately end the import of horse flesh from Australia. You can support their calls by sending a pre-prepared letter to Swiss importers and wholesalers here.
Charges laid against Meramist workers
As a result of the investigation, three workers were charged. However, no charges were laid against the slaughterhouse or the majority of individuals who carried out the most brutal treatment inside. Two of the workers were transporting the horses and the third was a Meramist employee. The charges were nothing more than a slap on the wrist and highlight the total lack of impetus the government has to prosecute for animal abuse.
Racing Victoria steps up their welfare program and PR campaign
Racing Victoria has announced it will spend $25 million on horse welfare over three years. It may sound impressive but when you consider that around 4,000 horses are discarded every year in Victoria alone, it can only be considered a start.
They have also launched their #hereforthehorses campaign that seemingly suggests the industry exists to look after horses. They state they spend an amount that adds up to over $300 million caring for their horses but don’t mention the real reason why they spend that money – to get their horse across the finish line first.
The racing industry needs to give up on their PR campaigns and start to make genuine attempts to care for the horses they profit from. If they genuinely cared for the welfare of racehorses they would immediately start to phase out 2YO racing, jumps racing and, of course, give every single racehorse a retirement plan – without exception.
Racing Victoria announces the first steps towards banning whip use
Racing Victoria recently announced their plans to make further reductions to the number of times a jockey can beat a horse with a whip, with the future goal of banning its use altogether. Read more here. They would, however, like to see jockeys still hold the whip while racing, only to be used for their and the horses’ safety. This move to ban the whip comes from an acknowledgement that the general public will no longer tolerate such blatant acts of cruelty and aims to redeem an industry that is quickly losing its social license.
Whilst we have long advocated for a ban of the whip and we celebrate moves by Racing Victoria to ultimately ban its use, it must be said that:
1) Allowing jockeys to still hold a whip while racing is unnecessary and will still instil fear in the horses, in a similar way the illegal jigger does when jockeys threaten its use on a horse on the race track who was trained under its use
2) Banning the whip will not suddenly make horse racing kind. So long as horses are used as objects for profits there will always be inherent cruelty3) Spurs, tongue ties and even bits are also widely used as tools of control that make horses run out of fear
NB: Norway banned the use of whips, other than for control, in 1982 and then completely in 2009.
JUMPS RACING UPDATE
The jumps racing season has finally come to an end. The final death on track tally (that we know of) is three horses, with 21 falling and 66 failing to even finish the course. This tally of suffering is much lower than previous years, as COVID-19 restrictions prevented jumps races from taking place in South Australia for the entire season. This speaks volumes – fewer jumps races, fewer dead horses – simple. Of course, we have no doubt the real death tally would be much higher considering horses who are injured and removed from the track to be killed are not recorded in steward reports. See our short video on how easy this is to do here.
CPR continues to lobby Racing Victoria and Thoroughbred Racing SA calling for the phasing out of jumps racing and greater transparency on all deaths caused by horses being raced.
RIP 2020 jumps racing victims Unabashed, Sir Isaac Newton, The Hotz (featured in that order) and the many others who will simply vanish after being forced to participate in this cruelty.
Our 2020 Deathwatch Report has just been released. You can read the full report here. The 2019/20 racing season claimed at least 116 lives meaning at least one horse continues to be killed on Australian racetracks every three days. Thousands more will have sustained injuries that made it more expedient to discard and replace them.
This years report has introduced three new sections covering:the number of horses who suffered visible/grade 4 bleeds or EIPH (exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage) whilst being raced;the increasing incidents of racing bodies editing or not releasing video replays of races where horses have been killed; anda list of businesses who sponsored a race where a horse was killedWe have also compiled our Deathwatch 2020 video summary highlighting just how devastating these scenes of horses being killed on track are. Watch here.
CPR NEW ZEALAND PRESENTS PETITION TO PARLIAMENT
Earlier this year, to the disgust of a large number of New Zealanders, the NZ government announced a $72.5 million racing industry bailout. Our three NZ satellite teams quickly launched a petition against the bailout.
Alongside SAFE’s Campaign Director Ilan Goldberg our petition with over 10,000 signatures was presented to Greens MP Gareth Hughes on the steps of parliament in late July.
Unfortunately the racing bailout looks to be going ahead however the arrogance of the industry has ruffled many feathers across the country from people who do not want to see animal cruelty and gambling industries propped up by their tax dollars, especially when essential services such as St John’s Ambulance are experiencing huge budget cuts.
Learn more about our NZ campaign, our report on NZ wastage estimates and how you can get involved here.
CPR CONTINUES TO GROW INTERNATIONALLY
In the last 12 months, CPR has been contacted by several groups around the world who have been inspired by our campaigns and therefore have started their own. We are currently working with these groups and approaching others to join our fight and hope to have more positive news on our progress in our next newsletter. Horse racing exists around the world, so no matter where you are receiving this newsletter, we need you to help spread the word. If you would like to start up a CPR satellite group in your town, please get in touch at [email protected]
SPRING CARNIVAL UPDATE
CPR targets horse racing sponsors
CPR has produced a document targeting horse racing sponsors, alerting them to “10 Reasons Why Your Brand Should Not Be Associated With Horse Racing” – read here. The document not only highlights that supporting what is fundamentally a cruel and exploitative industry is wrong, it also makes poor business sense.
CPR has sent the document to well over 400 sponsors (and counting), from large multinational companies through to small businesses who are not only Spring Carnival sponsors but who have sponsored races across the country over recent months. We will be following them up in the near future and will continue to reach out to future race sponsors.
We look forward to seeing businesses giving the important issues we raise serious consideration and withdrawing support.
CPR this Spring Carnival
As a result of COVID-19, this Spring Carnival is going to be like no other for the racing industry and for CPR. While CPR has some plans in place, it remains to be seen what we will be allowed to do. At the moment, it appears that our normal Spring Carnival actions will be not permitted in Victoria and our ‘Nup to the Cup’ picnic will also have to be cancelled. However, please stay tuned because we’ll be doing everything we can this Spring Carnival to ensure all our voices for the horses are heard loud and clear, irrespective of where we must do that from. We will at the very least be holding an online event so please stay tuned and please follow us on social media (here) or our website (here) for updates.
WHAT YOU CAN DO THIS SPRING CARNIVAL
There is still lots that you can do to speak out for horses this Spring Carnival.
CPR has produced a similar document to the one aimed at sponsors mentioned above. However, this one is for you to share with your friends and family who may not be aware of what really goes on in the horse racing industry. You can view, share and download the document ’10 Reasons Why You Should Not Support Horse Racing’ here. Please share it far and wide. It’s unlikely many people will be allowed to attend the races this Spring Carnival, so let’s use it as an opportunity to spread the word when hopefully people may be more open to hearing our message.
Support us and get your CPR Merchandise for this Spring Carnival
CPR’s 2020 ‘Nup to the Cup’ Collectors Item T-shirt design will soon be available in our online shop. Keep an eye out for this years special one-off design here.
We’ve also just released our brand new ‘Nup to the Cup’ face masks. Be a voice for racehorses this Spring Carnival without even opening your mouth. Available here.
Stencil Your Car
Stencil the back of your car and make it a mini billboard.
See our easy instructional video on how to spray the stencil and where to buy everything you’ll need here.
Boycott the Melbourne Cup Sweep
It’s a long running (but slowly dying) tradition to have a Melbourne Cup Sweep in the workplace, community group or local pub on Melbourne Cup Day. However, there’s a new tradition that’s emerging and that’s to say ‘Nup to the Cup”. It can be an awkward moment for some, especially if you’re the only one in your group who objects to it, but please remember you are not alone – you are joining the countless others across the country who are refusing to take part in cruelty, even under social pressure.
We suggest you do the following:
Download and print one of our posters and display it wherever you can to get the message across – available here.
Wear your CPR merchandise everywhere you go – available here.
Politely refuse to watch or partake in any Melbourne Cup celebrations and if possible join other likeminded individuals as a sign of respect for the horses.
If you are in the company of others who agree, hold an alternative celebration. Donate the money that you would have otherwise spent on a sweep to an animal charity of your choosing.
If you are having an alternative celebration, try to make sure it respects all animals, not just horses by making it vegan.
Perhaps, as an alternative to watching the Melbourne Cup, you could invite people to watch the ABC investigation “The Final Race’ that aired in October 2019 here and the more recently released investigative documentary by the Animal Welfare Foundation Tierschutzbund Zurich here.
We are still in the process of planning our actions for Melbourne Cup and will be sharing more ways people can join us to speak up for the horses shortly. Let’s make Melbourne Cup Day a day we celebrate animals, not exploit them.
FINALLY, THANK YOU!
Thank you to all our followers and donors for your ongoing support. Without it we would not exist. Unfortunately, COVID-19 has also hit CPR with many of our regular donors having to suspend or stop their donations. We want you all to know we understand. We’re living in unprecedented times and many people are doing it tough. Our thoughts are with you and we hope that our lives will be back to a much better kind of normal soon.
Speak up, always!
Image by Dayaal
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