The racing industry will often claim to be “open and transparent” but our experience of well over a decade demonstrates the very opposite. The industry will go out of its way to keep the truth from the public, as what really goes on behind the scenes is so shocking it threatens the very existence of horse racing.
We, the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses, represent a large sector of the general public who have very legitimate concerns regarding the wellbeing of racehorses, yet, our emails to industry authorities requesting an open dialogue or specific information regarding individual horses wellbeing are repeatedly ignored – Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys has even blocked all email and phone communication from us.
But, of course, it is much worse than that. Editing race replay footage when a horse is seriously injured or killed (or failing to upload the footage at all), intentionally omitting information from stewards reports, and blatantly lying to the public in media statements and in official industry reports, are all common practice in this industry that thrives on secrecy.
Below is a letter that has been sent to the Racing Victoria Equine Welfare Department four times since January this year. Not one reply has been received, not even an acknowledgement of the email, even though correspondence on other matters has occurred from the same department contact.
Due to lack of response, we have also sent this letter to the Racing Victoria and Racing Australia CEO’s who, to date, have also failed to respond.
So, we ask, for an industry who repeatedly claims to be “open and transparent,” why is our request so difficult to respond to?
Dear Racing Victoria Equine Welfare Department,
In our 2020 Deathwatch Report, we highlighted not only were the causes of horse deaths on track again often not disclosed, but also that Racing Victoria was the worst culprit of this. Our report stated:
Of the 24 horses whose cause of death is not clarified, 22 were from Victorian racetracks. Victoria reported a total of 31 deaths, meaning Victorian stewards only disclosed the cause of death in their reporting 9 times. More on this can be found from page 4 in our report here.
We believe it is in the public interest to know and understand not only how many horses are being killed on the racetrack, but also what is causing their deaths. We understand the cause of death can not always be determined on the day and therefore can not always be told in the stewards report of that particular day, however, when this is the case, subsequent reports and even necropsy reports could and should be made publicly available.
Evie Girl is one example of many which we would like more information on.
Evie Girl (NZ) Began to weaken passing the 700m and near the 500m was eased out of the race. After being pulled up, the mare collapsed and was subsequently found on arrival by the official racing veterinarian to be deceased. This incident will be referred to the Equine and Welfare Department.
Another major area of concern where transparency is entirely lacking is deaths in trackwork and training. We would very much like to see this also addressed, with all of these deaths and the causes reported on and made publicly available.
We look forward to Racing Victoria and indeed the industry across Australia being more transparent and providing the public with the information they have a right to, shall they be interested.
Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses
The above is a very reasonable and straight forward request, especially for an industry that is supported not only by gambling profits but also tax payer dollars and has a dedicated representative in our parliament.
Pictured: Evie Girl – killed at Caulfield on January 13 2021. She was 4 years old.