Our Track Record
In the beginning
CPR was formed in 2008 at a time when horseracing was very much enjoying its reputation as the ‘sport of kings’. Crowds flocked to the races in record numbers especially during the Melbourne Spring Carnival. The long held belief that racehorses were the best looked after animals in the world prevailed. Although many believed horse racing was too ingrained in the Australian psyche to change , CPR and our supporters were not deterred.
Despite our humble beginnings targeting jumps racing, CPR have managed to draw attention to much of the cruelty that plagues the racing industry. In doing so we alerted the Australian public to the reality of horseracing. Increased public awareness has forced the racing industry to begin taking action.
Many industry stakeholders have privately commended CPR for our commitment to improving the lives of horses before, during and after their racing careers.
Initial attempts to negotiate change failed. It was impossible to even meet with the industry who dismissed CPR as extremists. In order to make them accountable, we needed to tell the full story. This led to public outrage which saw many reconsider their support of horse racing. In the last 8 years, we’ve seen attendance figures drop, breeding numbers plummet and slowly but surely, the reputation of the racing industry is reflecting the reality. It needed to respond and has begun to do so.
Signs of change
Greater awareness of the reality of horse racing as the media’s coverage of jumps racing and the wastage issue permeates through society.
Racing attendance figures around Australia have been in steady decline. E.g. Melbourne Cup Carnival attendance figures have declined by 25% since 2006 (when we began campaigning). *add citation
Attendance figures at the Oakbank Easter Carnival have plummeted from over 100,000 in 2008 to less than 50,000 in 2016
Breeding has been in steady decline from 18,500 in 2008 to 13,500 in 2015.
The numbers of horses competing in jumps racing has not increased despite bootst in prize money in 2012 (intended to reinvigorate the sport). It continues but currently hangs by a thread.
Jumps racing was banned in 2009 albeit for only 7 weeks. The industry had to react to public sentiment but was unable to resist the backlash from jumps racing proponents however it continues to attract bad publicity.
In 2016, South Australia conducted an inquiry into whether jumps racing should remain legal
In 2015 - Racing Victoria has stated in their annual report that horse welfare is now their highest priority
Despite being initially ignored, CPR is now in regular communication with Racing industry administrators
In a meeting with NSW breeders, Johh Messara stated “ If you think that the animal activists are going away you are wrong*** (need to look up that video and verify)
So what’s changed?
In 2009 - Whip rule changes were made after the racing industry stated that “We need to make changes to the whip rules before they are forced upon us”
In 2016 - additional whip rules were implemented to further restrict the use of whips in horse racing.
As a result of greater awareness, the number of re-homing organisations has increased. Many more racehorses have been saved from the knackery as more people and individuals attend horse auctions to save them from being bought by kill buyers.
Racing Victoria implemented its own rehabilitation and retirement plan (albeit for a small number of horses estimated to be around 30). Racing New South Wales adopted a similar program with other states following suit.
Saleyards are being more closely scrutinised. For example, Stewards from Racing Victoria now attend sales
In 2014 - the Retirement and death notice form known as the AR64J form is implemented. CPR is currently lobbying Racing Australia for more information be provided on this form so that horses can be traced.
After lobbying Racing Australia for most of 2015, from August 2016, it became compulsory for all horses to be registered even if they didn’t race. Previously approx. 4,000 horses each year (mostly foals) would not be raced and were not accounted for. CPR is currently lobbying Racing Australia to account for the estimated 4,000 mares that are retired from breeding each year that are also not accounted for.