ABC NEWS (AUSTRALIA) reports:
A Senate inquiry into the feasibility of the National Horse Traceability Register for all horses last year handed down 18 recommendations aimed at better managing and promoting animal welfare, rider safety, and biosecurity in the equine sector.
The establishment of the working group, agreed upon by ministers at the Agriculture Minister’s Forum in Launceston in February, met the first recommendation from the inquiry.
Other recommendations urged the working group to engage with owners of abattoirs and knackeries to integrate a national horse traceability register into processing practices for horses.
It comes as revelations were made by the ABC last year that hundreds of registered racehorses are being discarded at slaughterhouses in Australia.
The working group could also usher in a phased approach to microchipping horses, and consider adopting a trial program following the establishment of the national register.
Ministers also agreed at the forum that Queensland would lead the development of Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines for Livestock at Processing Establishments.
Queensland would also lead a review of the suitability for horses to come under Land Transport of Livestock in the existing Australian Animal Welfare Standards and Guidelines.
The review would be subsequent to the completion of coordinated action on horse welfare during transport, as agreed by agriculture senior officials on December 19, 2019.
Senator Mehreen Faruqi said she was “delighted” with the progress.
At the end of the day, no racehorse should end up in a slaughterhouse. Australians were outraged by the horrific slaughter of racehorses exposed by 730 last year. Tracking horses throughout their lives will help make sure the industry has no excuse but to give every horse a dignified retirement.
The ABC has requested comment from the Queensland’s Agriculture Industry Development Minister, the Victorian Minister for Agriculture, the Victorian Minister for Racing, and Thoroughbred Breeders Australia on the implications of the establishment of the working group.
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