Australian authorities have launched an investigation into suspected animal cruelty after a TV report revealed the alleged mass slaughter of racehorses. Footage of horses allegedly being mistreated at an abattoir in Queensland caused widespread anger when it was aired on broadcaster ABC on Thursday.
On Friday, Queensland authorities sent inspectors to one of the abattoirs named by ABC’s 7.30 programme. The report alleged that 300 racehorses were killed there over a 22-day period.
It also broadcast covertly taken footage which appeared to show horses being beaten and mistreated in other ways.
The slaughter of racehorses is legal in Australia, but industry rules in some states require horses to be “rehomed”. State government officials described the allegations — aired ahead of the main spring racing season — as “abhorrent”.
Just the Beginning
This is just the beginning of the coverage. Here’s more:
Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Australian health racehorses are reportedly being sent to the slaughterhouse each year, contradicting industry claims the number was only 34.
Racing Australia’s official data shows around 34 horses every year end up at slaughterhouses – a figure amounting to less than one per cent of retiring racehorses.
But ABC’s 7.30 program has reported the number is much, much higher.So while racing’s peak body has rules requiring the registration and tracking of horses from their birth to their retirement, many are still being killed in slaughterhouses on a weekly basis.
Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys said he was not aware of any NSW racehorses being sent to slaughterhouses.
Hey Racing NSW. You might want to find yourself another CEO.
A devastated jockey has shared how she tried desperately to save her horse only to see him tortured and slaughtered on national television. Laura Cheshire was watching television last night when she saw the horse she rode for a year — a thoroughbred she loved and rehomed four times — beaten, kicked and slaughtered.
The heartbroken 35-year-old Queensland jockey was beside herself as War Ends, a horse that won its owners more than $400,000 over an illustrious career, was treated with absolute disdain by workers at an abattoir in Queensland.
The footage, shot with hidden cameras as part of 7.30’s investigation into the mistreatment of racehorses, made her sick.
Through tears on the track at Ipswich this morning, she told news.com.au she was disgusted because the horse’s last owner had promised her “he won’t be dogged”. “Next thing I know he’s on TV getting a bolt in his head,” Cheshire said. “It was horrific. It was unbearable to watch.”
Racing Queensland said the inhumane treatment of horses was a “national issue” and the industry had a “collective responsibility for the safety and wellbeing,” of the animals.
This morning the respected jockey sent a message to War Ends’ last owner, a woman who told her she had to give him away despite promising him a “forever home”. “I sent her the video of him being tortured,” she said. “I said, ‘What the f*** is wrong with you? You were supposed to be a responsible home for this horse.’”
The woman has since gone to ground and deleted her Facebook page. She has not responded to Cheshire’s texts. Read more »
Elio Celetto from the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses told the broadcaster about 4000 racehorses had been killed in one abattoir alone. Animal welfare and behaviour scientist Professor Paul McGreevy said there was no way the racing industry could defend the behaviour. “This is a clear breach of everything the industry has told us,” he said.
The investigation also aired accusations of multiple instances of animal cruelty at the slaughterhouses racehorses are being sent to.
- The covert cameras record horses being beaten and abused, bolted to the brain repeatedly and ineffectively killed.
- Others are kicked and suffer electric shocks while confined in the kill box.
- One worker can be seen repeatedly slamming a gate into a group of horses, another beats the horses with a hose.
Celetto states that, “[The meat] goes to various countries in Europe, it goes to Japan, and Russia’s a big importer as well.”
Last Word with Tom Reilly
We are going to end with an excerpt from a piece written by Tom Reilly entitled, “We care for our racehorses, but our industry must confront this mistreatment“, and published by the Sydney Morning Herald, the paper where he was once a senior journalist.
Tom Reilly is CEO of Aushorse and Thoroughbred Breeders Australia.
“This isn’t to shift the blame and point the finger at those who are outside the thoroughbred industry, but no animal, whether it is a thoroughbred horse, a cow or a sheep, should be mistreated in the way the horses were in Caro Meldrum-Hanna’s investigation. Any animal that is being processed at an abattoir should be treated humanely and with dignity.”
We accept that Reilly is a reasonably intelligent man. He can read and write anyway. So we take it he is sporting with our intelligence.
There is no way to slaughter any sentient being humanely. With dignity? In a slaughterhouse?
And don’t try to fob us off with your jargon. No, they are not “processed” — they are slaughtered. Their dead bodies then turned into meat.
Merriam Webster defines slaughter:
the act of killing specifically : the butchering of livestock for market.
If that weren’t enough, Reilly also refers to the egregious pain and suffering endured during horse slaughter as “mistreatment”.
There’s links to the video footage throughout the post, but here it is again. Warning: It is graphic. How could it be anything but?
- The original report that started it all at ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) »
Gamblers to Blame
Without gambling the business of horse racing would collapse. History has proven it so, in the U.S. anyway.
So, hey, gamblers. This is on your plate. You bet. They die.
3 thoughts on “Australian racehorse slaughter allegations prompt investigation”
In this ABC 7.30 program, you’ll see footage of men in a meeting and Peter V’landys (CEO of Racing NSW) with microphone in hand is speaking. This meeting went on for a couple of hours and basically it was about Racing Australia being concerned about numerous complaints it had received about the horrible cruelty that occurs on these breeding properties. RA wanted to inspect the horses at any time it chose to enter a breeder’s property. Tom Reilly and his mob were aggressively vocal that they would never allow that – he argued that the horses were their livestock. Despite the fact that the foals are purposely bred for racing. It was a very heated and lengthy argument.
Tom Reilly later put the audio video of the whole meeting up on his Thoroughbred Breeders Australia website. It was staggering that he would do this when it was supposed to have been a private meeting.
Yes, Tom Reilly would regard the sickening torture of those poor horses in the ABC expose as “mistreatment”.
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Thank you Carolyn.
This is not just an Aussie problem. The brutal slaughter of racehorses goes on wherever there is horse racing not just Australia. Death on the track and death off of it. Anyone who gambles on it subsidizes the egregious cruelties that goes with it.
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