Following last night’s chilling ABC report on the widespread abuse and covert slaughter of retired racehorses in New South Wales and Queensland, Racing Australia’s “shocked” chief executive insists charges should be laid against those responsible.
Speaking to ABC News Breakfast this morning, Barry O’Farrell said authorities “should, and I suspect will” throw the book at the operators of abattoirs, knackeries, and sale yards found to abuse thoroughbreds.
Using information from undercover investigators, the 7.30 investigation concluded nearly 300 former racehorses were channeled through Queensland’s Meramist Abattoir in 22 days.
Footage also shows workers beating, kicking, and inhumanely slaughtering horses at the Caboolture abattoir.
ABC News states the abattoir is now under investigation for alleged animal abuse.
While the slaughter of racehorses is legal across the nation, the figures and footage go against Racing Queensland’s policies to “Minimise ‘wastage’ of racing animals” and “ensure that all racing animals are well cared for before, during and after racing.”
Separately, the investigation claimed thoroughbreds sold through NSW’s Camden Horse Sales, which is not permitted to sell former racehorses, wound up at knackery Luddenham Pet Meat. Burns Pet Food was also discovered to have received former racehorses.
The findings raise serious questions about the enforcement of Racing NSW’s own rules, which effectively ban horse owners and breeders from disposing unwanted thoroughbreds to slaughterhouses.
Despite the troubling findings, O’Farrell said state racing industry leaders are working to ensure “equine welfare is as high as possible within their jurisdictions.”
Earlier, Racing NSW chief Peter V’Landys told the ABC perpetrators will be punished.
The shocking report comes as the nation gears up for peak racing season, with the Melbourne Cup and Sydney’s controversial The Everest slated for the coming weeks.
After all, whipping horses to make them sprint around a dirt circle remains totally above board.
The 7.30 findings also echo a similar landmark, Gold Walkley-winning investigation into the Australian greyhound racing industry, which resulted in seismic changes across the board.
You can watch the programme here.