For Immediate Release, Thursday 2 June, 2022
Animal protection orgs unite to expose the sad joke the National Horse Traceability Register has become
The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) has joined forces with ten animal protection organisations and individuals to try to get the shambles that is the National Horse Traceability Register back onto its intended course.
Animals Australia, Animal Liberation Queensland, Juliana Waugh AM, Humane Society International and Professor Paul McGreevy are among the collective who have co-signed a report highlighting the failings of the Working Group to make recommendations based on their own Terms of Reference. It also exposes the failings of Agriculture Victoria and Queensland as co-leaders of the Register.
The Report titled ‘The National Horse Traceability Register has lost its way’ (available here) is calling on horse industries, the Working Group and the Victorian, Queensland and Federal governments to ensure this long awaited NHTR does not just become yet another pointless government exercise.
Horse welfare, rider safety and biosecurity were the three main reasons given for the need of a NHTR. In September 2020, the Australian Government accepted the Committee’s recommendations for a register and stressed welfare and rider safety as the driving reason for its implementation.
“The Australian Government agrees that a national horse traceability register could support some biosecurity activities, however, notes that this inquiry and the need for a register was driven by other concerns, including rider safety and horse welfare” (Australian Government, 2020, p. 1).
This was then reflected in the Terms of Reference set by Government Ministers for the National Horse Traceability Working Group which was established that same month to “provide advice on matters relating to the design and introduction of a traceability system for horses, donkeys and mules in Australia.”
Since this time the Working Group has failed to produce any advice that would lead to an effective register and its focus has been shifted off course towards recommendations for a NHTR that will focus solely on biosecurity. This will do nothing to address horse welfare and rider safety, and, as the most recent communication from the Working Group demonstrates will do little to reduce biosecurity risks.
If the new Albanese government actually does take animal welfare issues more seriously than the Coalition then they will ensure this register is put back on track. The newly appointed Minister for Agriculture, Murray Watt, must step up from the poor leadership of Littleproud and ensure the relevant state agriculture Ministers Mark Furner and Mary-Anne Thomas are actually doing what they were tasked to do.
CPR is calling on all horse lovers across the country to sign their petition directed at the authorities to ensure Australia finally implements a traceability register the public has demanded and the horses need and deserve (available here).
Quotes attributable to CPR Campaign Director Elio Celotto
“The Australian public was devastated and outraged as scenes of extreme and systemic suffering of racehorses caused at knackeries and slaughterhouses played out across the country’s television screens in October 2019.”
“The subsequent Martin Inquiry and the Thoroughbred Aftercare Welfare Working Group Report both stressed the importance of an effective NHTR as fundamental to addressing the horse welfare issues that have and continue to horrify Australians.”
“It has been over three years since the NHTR was first proposed to Parliament and almost two years since the Working Group was established. Yet all they have achieved to date is a set of proposed business rules which aim to slightly improve existing Property Identification Codes (PIC’s) for the sole purpose of responding to a biosecurity event. In other words, the Working Group has effectively achieved nothing in terms of recommending a NHTR that will achieve its intended purpose.”
“We’ve seen far too much suffering and have made many positive steps in response to address the issue of horse welfare and rider safety to let this slip away and turn into yet another meaningless government exercise.”
“As members of the Working Group, the racing industry must use their strong influence over decision making in high places to guarantee a robust NHTR, especially considering they themselves profess to be in support of such a register.”
For More information: horseracingkills.com
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