For Immediate Release, Monday 13 September 2021
Deathwatch 2021 shows horse racing deaths are the worst we’ve seen
The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) has just published their 2021 Deathwatch Report and the numbers are staggering.
“At least 149 horses were reported to have been killed on Australian racetracks over the 2020-2021 racing year. That is thirty-three more than last year” said CPR Campaign Director Elio Celotto.
CPR has been researching and publishing a record of deaths caused from racing related injuries since 2014 – initiated because the racing industry does not collate and publish specific information relating to on-course horse deaths themselves. From the period August 1, 2020 to July 31 2021 (the ‘racing year’), CPR monitored every race Australia-wide and gathered data on the deaths of racehorses on Australian racetracks.
“This years death toll equates to at least one horse being killed on Australian racetracks every 2.5 days” Mr Celotto said. “And these are just the deaths we learn of from official race day reports. Countless others are taken away from the racetrack and killed behind the scenes when it is clear they cannot (or were chosen not to) be saved”.
A recent Government Information Public Access (GIPA) application to Racing NSW by the Office of Mark Pearson of the Animal Justice Party NSW found trackwork deaths, which are rarely reported publicly, are almost as frequent as raceday deaths, demonstrating the real numbers of horses killed from racing-related injuries would be far greater than the report indicates.
“Whilst Racing Victoria are spending big bucks on advertisments aimed at luring back Australia’s trust in the Melbourne Cup and spruking new Spring Carnival safety measures, the thousands of other horses forced onto racetracks across the rest of the year are being forgotten.”
“Those are the horse who make up the vast majority of deaths on track and nothing is being done to protect them, simply because they are not Melbourne Cup horses who attract the media spotlight” Mr Celotto said. “There is another Anthony Van Dyck at least every 2.5 days.”
“We are calling on all state racing ministers to force the racing industry to publicly report on all horse deaths caused by injuries sustained in racing, trackwork, trials and training. The Australian people have a right to know the true impacts horse racing has on the very individuals the industry could not exist without” Mr Celotto said.
“It may not necessarily be that this years death toll has been any better or worse than previous years, it’s simply that we have invested more time and resources into digging deeper into unreported deaths. The more you investigate, the more you find. The real figure would actually be much, much higher and that’s why we’re asking for the reporting of all injuries and deaths of racehorses to be mandatory”.
A petition, launching today, is available to the public to support the call for mandatory reporting here.
A video compilation dedicated to the fallen horses can be viewed here.
- At least 149 horses died from racing injuries
- One horse is killed on Australian racetracks every 2.5 days
- A GIPA by AJP NSW found trackwork deaths are almost as frequent as raceday deaths
- New South Wales recorded the most deaths, followed by Victoria and Queensland
- The leading cause of death was catastrophic front limb injury with at least 41 occurrences
- At least nine horses were two years old when they died
- Most horses died at just four years old
- All states failed on several occassions to upload race replays where a horse died. Victoria was the worst culprit, editing or failing to upload replays on at least ten occassions