Racing Victoria Chief Executive, Giles Thompson, has issued the following statement in response
to last night’s episode of ABC’s 7.30 program which centred on the Australian thoroughbred and
harness racing industries:
“We are sickened by the horrific images that we saw on ABC 7.30 Report last night, particularly
the inhumane treatment of horses at the Queensland abattoir. Abattoirs and knackeries are
regulated by State Governments and we expect those authorities to ensure animal welfare
standards are maintained and compliance is strictly enforced. We expect anyone breaching those
laws to be prosecuted.
“Equine welfare is a non-negotiable for the Australian racing industry and the goal of ensuring a
home for every healthy thoroughbred as it exits the racing industry must remain a priority for all.
Through our Off The Track program we are working to create a demand for the thoroughbred
and promoting a network of 50 retrainers to support the rehoming efforts of owners and trainers.
“While the racing industry is able to enforce strict rules and demand the highest standards of
treatment for horses during their racing career, once a horse is retired from racing it leaves our
jurisdiction and the scope of the national rules of racing.
“This is of course a matter of national concern and not just restricted to thoroughbreds. We have
been calling for a better system to track the movement of horses once they have left the racing
industry and are urging the Federal Government’s Senate Standing Committee to expedite its
deliberations and pave the way for the urgent introduction of a National Horse Traceability
“In the meantime, we will be prioritising the activities detailed in our three-year equine welfare
strategic plan released this year including an audit of Victorian horses that have not raced in the
past 18 months but are not listed as retired with Racing Australia.
“Further, it is clear that national compliance with the industry’s system of data collection relating
to the retirement of horses is not working as it should. We will also be working with Racing
Australia, our owners and trainers, and other State racing authorities to rectify this.”