In August 2014, the racing industry commissioned a study to determine the end destination of racehorses after they are retired from racing. The study was conducted by Renee Geelen, who has worked in the industry for a number of years.
Her study described as “painstakingly researched fact” did not actually rely on facts at all. It involved interviewing 37 trainers about the 3224 horses in their care. The results relied on the correct information being provided by the trainers and was never verified.
With the researcher and the trainers having a vested interest in not making it public knowledge that horses are routinely sent to slaughter, the integrity of this research should be questioned. However, former Racing Australia CEO Peter McGauran had this to say, “This is a ground breaking study that injects statistical rigor and accuracy into an emotive debate characterised by exaggeration and distortion…”.
Request for information
The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses has requested a copy of this research from Racing Australia several times. The only results from this research were obtained from a post Renee Geelen made herself on the vichorse.com forum.
The research concluded that less than 1% of all racehorses are sent to slaughter and that there actually isn’t a ‘wastage’ problem at all. A very small one at worst. However it doesn’t explain the many thousands of racehorses that are killed in the 33 knackeries and 2 slaughterhouses around Australia.
This research also raised some important questions.
- What happens to the racehorses that don’t make it to the racetrack estimated to be approximately 7000 horses every year?
- What happens to the breeding horses that exit the breeding cycle? Renee Geelen states that 3000 horses go into breeding every year. With the breeding population in decline in recent years, that means at least 3000 exit breeding every year are currently unaccounted for.
- As anybody who attends horse sales knows, most racehorses are bought by kill buyers. How are these horse accounted for in the study?
- What has been done to verify the information provided by the trainers?
These questions have been repeatedly put to Mr McGauran via email yet he refuses to answer.