Racing NSW rule changes on horse slaughter

Racing NSW finally takes action on horse slaughter

Racing NSW have amended their Rules of Racing to finally address (or to be appearing to address) some of the major issues that continue to plague the industry. New Local Rule 114 for Equine Welfare has been designed as an attempt to ensure the welfare of thoroughbred horses from birth, during and after their use by the racing industry.

In summary, as of October 1, 2017:
-no racehorses are to be sent directly or indirectly to a slaughterhouse or knackery
-minimum standards for keeping horses used by the racing industry must be maintained
-contact details of new guardians and locations of horses are to be provided to RNSW
-there must be access to where horses are kept to ensure minimum standards are met
-no horses are to be euthanised unless certified by a registered vet on welfare or safety grounds.

The full list of new local rule 114 on Equine Welfare from Racing NSW can be found here.

Whilst we welcome such rules being put in place and acknowledge they go a long way compared to the single (unenforced) ‘request’ by Racing Australia for every trainer or guardian to simply complete a retirement form (AR64J) for every horse exiting the industry, many questions need to be answered such as:

  1. Will reports on retired horses be made publicly available?
  2. How long after retirement does RNSW intend to monitor the welfare of retired horses?
  3. How will RNSW monitor horses whose guardians have not filled out the retirement form?
  4. How will RNSW ensure that minimum standards are met?
  5. What penalties will apply to guardians and trainers who are found guilty for failing to comply with the rules?
  6. What action will RNSW take if racehorses are found at a knackery or slaughterhouse?
  7. What will RNSW do in a situation where a permanent home cannot be found for a retired racehorse?

These are all questions we have asked Racing NSW, yet to date they have refused to answer. We will also be lobbying Racing Australia to implement these rules nationally to work towards protecting all racehorses from being sent to slaughter and will, of course, hold all states to account now and into the future.

It is important to note that although Racing NSW introduced Local Rule 114 in October 2017, the new compulsory retirement form referred to, requiring specific details on the horses retirement location and with the option of reason for death “abattoir” removed, was actually non-existent until August 2018, 11 months after its introduction. Interestingly, within only two months, that form specific to Racing NSW was removed from their website and replaced with a new version of the Racing Australia retirement form. The Racing Australia retirement form now also has the option for “abattoir” as a reason for death removed, however, the Australian Rules of Racing have not banned the practice of sending of horses to the abattoir. This reinforces the fact that the horse racing industry is not gathering accurate information as to where horses are going once they have been taken out of the racing industry. Our video above goes into further detail.

The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses has been campaigning for a retirement plan for all horses used by the racing industry for many years. Our exposes into the killing of unwanted horses known as ‘wastage’ have shocked and horrified the public and in-turn created pressure on the industry to act. It is wonderful to see at least part of the industry working towards better outcomes for the horses it would not exist without. Now we must ensure this is enforced and implemented nationwide.

How you can help!
Write to Racing Australia CEO Barry O’Farrell here if you’d like to put your support behind this initiative. Demand that all horses used by the racing industry be rehabilitated and rehomed instead of being killed for human consumption or pet food.

Help us maintain the pressure and continue our work towards industry reform and accountability by donating to our campaigns.