It’s been a few months since our last e-news so there is much to update on. Sadly, there is never a dull moment in the horse racing industry. However, there is also never a dull moment in the public response. The growth of opposition to horse racing is showing no signs of slowing down and the industry certainly doesn’t do itself any favours there. In this newsletter:
Fined for refusing to carry a whip
NZ racehorses slaughtered in Australia
Exposing businesses who sponsor animal abuse
Horse meat exports
Bill for horses in NSW Parliament
Images of trainer mocking dead horse emerge
Trevor Sutherland disqualification overturned
Racing Victoria bungles stomach tubing case
Cliff’s Dream investigation
AJSA blatantly misleads the public
Regal Chamber – the life of a breeding mare
Studies on bone fatigue ignored
FINED FOR REFUSING TO CARRY A WHIP
The use of whips remains a contentious and divisive issue among the racing fraternity – a trajectory that is guaranteed to continue until they are banned.
Just weeks after Racing Victoria pulled the pin on their plans to conduct a series of whip free races, with an overall objective towards slowly phasing it out (more here), Tasmanian harness racing driver and trainer Gavin Kelly was fined $1000 for refusing to follow a direction to carry a whip. Kelly is now challenging whether such a direction is lawful. In a recent interview with the ABC, he said:
“I see what horses can do without being whipped and I don’t see that inflicting pain to generate a result is necessary if you train them to the best of their ability”.
“The industry keeps trying to just window dress the issue. They like to look like they are making changes and look like they’ve got animal welfare at heart, but I’m not a believer that they’re out there to generate meaningful change”. Listen to the full audio recording here.
We’ve seen jockeys who have beaten their horse with the whip over three times more than the allowable number receive smaller fines. The whip is just the tip of the iceberg of horse racing cruelty, and still, Kelly is being lauded by many as a hero just for refusing to carry one. The industry really does seem determined to dig its own grave.
NEW ZEALAND RACEHORSES SLAUGHTERED IN AUSTRALIA FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION
It has been very interesting to watch the public response as our New Zealand campaign against horse racing cruelty takes flight. Reading some of the blatant lies and denial from industry participants and supporters feels as though we are stepping back in time to the early days of our Australian campaign – comments that would now be laughable if an Australian supporter were to make them. The New Zealand public are being informed that the treatment of racehorses in their own country is no different and, over time, they too will understand that their attempts at defending the indefensible no longer cut it.
Recently, New Zealanders were informed that many of their horses also end up at the horrific Meramist slaughterhouse in Caboolture, QLD. Read more here. The details of six thoroughbreds who were witnessed in the kill pens where shared for the first time, shocking many. As we continue to expose the NZ horse racing industry, their lies and denial will, too, become untenable. For more information on the number of horses that vanish from New Zealand thoroughbred racing each year click here.
Speaking of New Zealand, our campaign teams across the ditch recently made two important submissions. The first to the parliamentary committee in support of our petition to withdraw the $72.5 million racing industry bail out – available here. The second being a submission to the open consultation on further restricting whip use – our submission for an outright ban is available here.
Our New Zealand campaign is going from strength to strength with satellite teams expanding from three to five in the past few months, with CPR Taranaki and Tauranga now also joining our efforts. Thank you to everyone in New Zealand who is taking action against horse racing cruelty.
EXPOSING BUSINESSES WHO SPONSOR ANIMAL ABUSE
CPR’s campaign against horse racing sponsors continues, as lists exposing which companies support animal abuse are continually being developed. Companies are supplied with information on the many forms of cruelty horses endure before, during and after racing (see here) and those who sponsor a race where a horse is killed on the track are informed of the name and age of the horse, along with their picture and cause of death that their sponsorship supported.
Every month the companies who sponsored a race in which a horse was killed are also shared with the public across social media, encouraging them to take their business elsewhere. To add your name to the list of people who will not support businesses that support horse racing cruelty, click here.
EFFORTS TO BAN THE IMPORT OF HORSE MEAT INTO THE EU CONTINUE
A webinar on The Import of Horsemeat from Overseas was recently held by the Intergroup on the Welfare and Conservation of Animals. The Intergroup is made up of Members of the European Parliament, working together to advance animal welfare and conservation in EU policy making. We were very pleased to present on behalf of Australia’s cruel horse meat exports, alongside representatives from other countries who have investigated horse meat production for export to the EU.
The evidence provided by all the presentations is undeniable. All third countries that export horse meat to the EU are in clear breach of EU Commission regulations. The EU Commission must act immediately to ban the import of horsemeat from Australia, Canada, Argentina and Uraquay. You can watch the webinar here and sign our petition to ban EU horse meat imports from those countries here.
BILL INTRODUCED TO NSW PARLIAMENT TO LEGISLATE AGAINST RACEHORSE SLAUGHTER AND INSTRUMENTS OF CRUELTY
Last month, Animal Justice Party MLC Mark Pearson introduced an important bill: the Racehorse Legislation Amendment (Welfare and Registration) Bill 2020. If passed this bill would:ban whips, tongue ties & spurscriminalise sending ex-racehorses to knackeriesput in place a birth-to-death racehorse registration and rehoming scheme.This important amendment would see an end to the worst of the abuses inflicted on these innocent beings in NSW, whilst we work toward the day when they are no longer viewed or used as a commodity for the gambling dollar. Thank you to Mark Pearson and the Animal Justice Party NSW team for bringing this bill to the house. You can watch the reading of the bill here and show your support here.
TRAINER MOCKS HORSE IN THEIR DEATH
The entire racing world went into a frenzy recently, as photos emerged of winning Grand National trainer Gordon Elliott sitting on a horse who had recently passed of a reported heart attack.
The images went viral across the globe, sparking outrage and exposing the true feelings of those who most often report to be deeply saddened by the deaths of horses they knowingly put in harms way. To add to the scandal, just days later, a video was published of jockey Rob James laughing as he too straddles a dead horse – available here.
Since the outrage, Elliott has been suspended from training for six months. However, his horses continue to be accepted into races as his license has been transferred. Black Tears, a horse from Elliott’s stable, won the Mare’s Hurdle on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival. As our international partner from Animal Aid UK, Dene Stansall, stated “We’re disappointed that Elliott’s horses have been allowed to run because stopping horses from his stable running would have been a greater punishment. He’s allowed to go on holiday over the summer and come back refreshed, while his horses are still there all ready to go again.”
3-YEAR DISQUALIFICATION OVERTURNED
Trevor Sutherland’s 3-year disqualification has been overturned on appeal.
The NSW trainer pleaded guilty last year to sending two of his horses, 6-year-old Redfu and 4-year-old Rozzi to Irish huntsman Donnchadh Brown where they were killed and fed to his hounds. At the time, this was found to be in breach of Racing NSW LR114(5)(e) which states a horse “is not to be, directly or indirectly, sent to an abattoir, knackery or similarly disposed of”.
Mr Brown is the manager of the Sydney Fox Hunting Club, known to Sutherland (according to Brown) for feeding horses to the hounds he so cruelly uses in barbaric fox hunts. Evidence provided by a Racing NSW Welfare Officer, after speaking with Brown, claimed that Sutherland “rehomes the majority of his horses, however the ones he couldn’t find a home for, he gave to Mr Brown for pet food.” Read more here.
RACING VICTORIA BUNGLES STOMACH TUBING CASE
Within 48 hours of trainer Trevor Sutherland winning his appeal in NSW, Racing Victoria dropped all charges against trainer Richard Laming and two stablehands for alleged race day stomach tubing of Jamaican Run.
It was reported: The snap withdrawal followed an RV-led decision on Wednesday to halt proceedings midway through the five-day hearing, with Murphy citing information that could put the tribunal in “a difficult position”.
“I am making application that the matter be adjourned until tomorrow, but I will not indicate the basis of that application,” Murphy told the VRT.
“In our professional view it would be very dangerous to ignore the circumstances and it would put the tribunal ultimately, I would have thought, in a difficult position.” More here.
Since, the Victorian Racing Integrity Board has demanded Racing Victoria provide a “full and public explanation” about the failed hearing, which has just been completed. It found Racing Victoria steward witnesses were in communication, “in contravention of an order of the VRT which prevented witnesses from speaking to other witnesses or interested parties during an adjournment.” More here.
Laming also has a cobalt presentation charge, which he plans to appeal.
CLIFF’S DREAM INVESTIGATION
CPR investigators recently reviewed the death of Cliff’s Dream’s in a jumps race at Warrnambool back in 2016 and found his treatment behind the green screen required investigation. However, Racing Victoria disagreed
View the footage of his shocking treatment, with full statements from both Racing Victoria’s Equine Welfare Department and a former industry vet of 30 years, here.
AUSTRALIAN JUMPS RACING ASSOCIATION PROVIDES BLATANT MISINFORMATION
In a story which aired on ABC’s Landline in October last year, when speaking of horses used in jumps races, the host stated “A just released 2-year study shows that 95% are rehomed”.
We found this statement quite unbelievable so contacted Racing Victoria who confirmed: 1.that the media got it wrong and the report actually stated “95% of horses WHO ARE REHOMED out of jumps racing do not require a retraining period”and2. that they were aware of this inaccurate statement before the program aired.We immediately asked Racing Victoria why the program was not corrected before going to air, to which we were told they did not see it as necessary. This is a pretty big mistake for the ABC program to make, but they could almost be forgiven for the inaccuracy, given this is exactly how the findings have been twisted in the Australian Jumps Racing Association (AJRA) media kit, and other reports and posts. Learn why here.
REGAL CHAMBER – the life of a breeding mare
Regal Chamber was used by the racing industry to produce 19 foals in 20 years, spending more than 90% of her life after racing pregnant. Every year she was forcibly mated with a stallion, while at the same time having a foal at foot. Somewhere between 3-6 months of age, her foal would be taken away from her, just like she was taken away from her mother at the same age, to be trained and then raced, exploited and then discarded.
In the end, Regal Chamber was abandoned by everyone, however, she found kindness in the final 18 months of her life. Read her heartbreaking story here.
KNOWINGLY RACING HORSES TO INJURY AND DEATH
This is a graph produced by Professor Chris Whitton, head of the Equine Centre at The University of Melbourne, who works extensively with the racing industry. It highlights the cumulative effect of bone damage, placing racehorses under extreme pressure during racing. This only gets worse with every successive race until their injuries make them non-competitive or result in catastrophic breakdown.
The video ‘Avoiding Injuries and Maximising Performance in Racehorses’ by Chris Whitton, from which this graph was taken, is very informative – available here. It also gives us an insight into what really matters to the industry, and it’s got nothing to do with horse welfare and everything to do with maximising profits. They are knowingly putting the lives of the horses they claim to love at risk for financial gain every time they race. This is just normal practice and part of the industry’s business model.
Our recent article on how industry and tax payer dollars are used to fund such studies whilst ignoring their findings can be read here.
OAKBANK CARNIVAL IS NO MORE and…. Morphettville abandons jumps races
After 12 years of campaigning and demonstrating against the Easter Oakbank Jumps Carnival with Animal Liberation South Australia (ALSA), we are happy to say, the carnival is no more.
When CPR and ALSA first joined forces back in 2008, the carnival was the centrepiece of Easter celebrations in Adelaide. It attracted in excess of 120,000 people across Easter Saturday and Easter Monday. It was the place to be seen and have fun and many even camped on the surrounding grounds for the entire Easter long weekend. This year it will be just another race day on the Easter Saturday with just 2 jumps races.
Additionally, it appears that the SA Jockey Club have surreptitiously gotten rid of jumps racing at their Morphettville track, as no jumps races have been scheduled to take place there for the 2021 season and none planned for the future. This is more evidence of the racing industry trying to keep their very fragile social licence as the dark side of racing is exposed.
Here is an old news item of CPR and ALSA protesting against jumps at the Morphettville track back in 2014.
A huge thank you to ALSA and all our supporters who instead of having a break over Easter, chose to attend our demonstrations, often in the sweltering heat or bitter cold and rain. Details on this year’s Oakbank jumps protest here or email us at [email protected] Image by Tamara Kenneally Photography
THANK YOU AND CONGRATULATIONS
Huge thanks to all the organisations and individuals across Australia and New Zealand who have taken action against horse racing so far this year. Through expanding our teams and joining forces with others, we have already run or supported protests outside the Adelaide, Hobart, Launceston, Auckland, Wellington, Taranaki and Perth Cup Days. We’ve also stood strong to protest outside (and inside) the Magic Millions, Wellington’s Student Day at the Races and Summer Race Day at Whanganui. Huge thanks to ALSA, Coast to Coast Animal Friends, Taranaki Animal Save, DxE Tasmania, Animal Liberation Tasmania and Animal Liberation Queensland for joining forces with us. And, of course to our CPR teams in Taranaki, Whanganui, Wellington and Auckland for making our NZ protests possible.
The movement against horse racing is a growing and unstoppable force.
The CPR store is chock-full of great items to help spread the message about ending horse racing cruelty without even having to say a word. Take a look here!
Collectors Item t-shirts designed by Melbourne artist Sebastian Berto
Caps, Beanies & Gators
Hoodies & more… Purchase here
For 13 years CPR has been supported by the generosity of your donations, big and small. They have enabled us to break the secrecy once enjoyed by the horse racing industry wide open. If you can afford to help us continue with this important work, please consider making a one-off or monthly donation. Click here.
SOME CUTENESS OVERLOAD TO WRAP THIS UP!
The cruelty-free Adelaide Cup alternative, the Canine Cup, was a huge success again this year. The event raised $8175 for Freedom Hill Sanctuary and demonstrated to Adelaide and well beyond that you do not need to support animal abuse to have a good time. There were gorgeous fashions, delicious food and loads of entertainment.
Pre-recorded images of dogs running in the park on their own terms featured on the big screen and can be viewed here.
Brief ABC coverage of the event here.
Photos from the Canine Cup event here.
Thank you for reading and remember… speak up, always!
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