Change needed in Qld racing: report

WHEN A RACEHORSE LEAVES THE TRACK

  • Some Thoroughbreds and Standardbreds become stock used to breed potential future winners
  • A small number of horses will be rehomed and become pets or hacks for pony club, while others become showjumpers or dressage horses
  • Others are sent to slaughter to become human or pet food
  • In 2019 footage emerged of workers at the Meramist abattoir north of Brisbane mistreating horses sent there to be killed and processed

SHOCKWAVES AND REACTION

  • The allegations of animal cruelty appalled the Australian public
  • Racing industry bodies spoke out against the treatment
  • In Queensland, the government launched an investigation of the accusations led by retired District Court judge Terry Martin SC

THE VERDICT

  • That probe found the management of racehorses as a disposable commodity was unethical and not aligned with community expectations
  • It also found the racing industry could not be held accountable for the lifelong welfare of retired horses once their careers were over
  • It found that were was no adequate animal welfare monitoring at slaughterhouses

WHAT WILL CHANGE?

  • Two industry bodies will set up a rehoming scheme
  • But owners will need to make two genuine attempts to rehome the horse, and put it to the rehoming scheme
  • If that fails, the horses can be killed or sent to an abattoir
  • The Queensland government has been told to prioritise animal welfare
  • Resting periods are recommended where horses are being brought from other states to be slaughtered in Queensland
  • Cameras should be installed to capture what happens at “critical animal welfare points” and provided to state government officials
  • The state government has left the door open to new agreements with abattoirs, or new laws