The practice is occurring despite industry rules and animal welfareguarantees.

The undercover investigation revealed disturbing treatment of horses at oneabattoir before and during slaughter.

The slaughter of racehorses is not illegal in Australia but it is againstRacing NSW policy and rules, which state that all retired racehorses should berehomed.

Paul McGreevy is a vet and professor of animal behaviour and welfare scienceat the University of Sydney.

He has been studying thoroughbreds for over 25 years, winning national andinternational awards for his research.

He is appalled by what he has seen.

“We’re talking about destroying animals on an industrial scale,” he told theABC.

“We’re seeing animals suffering.

For the past two years Elio Celotto and the Coalition for the Protection ofRacehorses have been watching the Meramist Abattoir located north of Brisbane.

Using perimeter cameras, they have recorded the daily activities on theground.

Meramist slaughters mixed livestock, including an estimated 500 horses amonth.

“[The meat] goes to various countries in Europe, it goes to Japan, andRussia’s a big importer as well.”

Separate to the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses monitoring, a teamof undercover investigators has entered the abattoir recording more than athousand hours of covert vision documenting the horses that have passedthrough the abattoir and their treatment.

That vision has been provided to the ABC and we’ve agreed to protect theinvestigators’ identities.

Using the vision recording brandings and the methodical scanning ofmicrochips, the ABC has forensically cross-matched horses slaughtered to theindustry’s official online record of thoroughbreds, the Australian Stud Book.

The process has revealed around 300 racehorses went through Meramist Abattoirin just 22 days.

They had won combined prizemoney of almost $5 million.

On one day alone, covert cameras record more than 40 racehorses beingslaughtered

The Coalition figures are at odds with the racing industry’s data and withRacing Queensland’s Animal Welfare Strategy to “minimise the ‘wastage’ ofracing animals”.

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett said that itencourages the racing community and the public to report all animal welfareconcerns.

“The Commission works closely with partners including the RSPCA to investigatereports we receive about the treatment of racehorses and Standardbreds whetherthey are currently racing or retired,” he told the ABC in a statement.

The vision obtained by the ABC also shows abattoir workers tormenting animalsbefore they are killed.

The covert cameras record horses being beaten and abused, bolted to the brainrepeatedly 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.

Professor McGreevy is shocked by the practices.

“That’s disgusting,” he said, tears welling in his eyes.

“It’s absolutely unacceptable that we could let our equine athletes down inthis way.”

Full ABC Report can be read here

Vet association condemns racehorse slaughter, call for widespread reform

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) strongly condemns the massslaughter of horses as reported last night on the ABCs ‘The 7.30 Report’ andcall upon the Australian government to implement a nationwide welfare standardand register to protect the welfare of all horses.

Dr Sam Nugent, President of the AVA’s Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA)Group said, “as veterinarians, we found the treatment of the horses in theleaked video footage highly distressing. The AVA would like to see all partiesinvolved in these illegal practices held accountable for abhorrent and illegalactions.

Abattoirs and knackeries that are breaching animal cruelty laws, as well ashorse racing authorities that are not enforcing their own welfare rules forpost-career horses, need to be held accountable. Breaches of animal welfarecannot be tolerated.”

The ongoing welfare of horses after their racing career is the responsibilityof the horse racing industry. We call upon racing authorities to get strongeron enforcing welfare standards for their retired racehorses. The AVA will befollowing up with racing authorities shortly to ensure appropriate action istaken for the welfare breaches shown on ‘The 7.30 Report’.

Currently, welfare laws for animals are maintained at a state government leveland the scope of protection for horses varies between states. Followingreports of animals being moved across state boundaries for slaughter, the AVAbelieves that a national animal welfare standard is required to maintainwelfare standards. In addition, the AVA calls for a ‘national horse register’to be established for greater oversight of the country’s equine population.The AVA will lobby the Federal Government to implement both as soon aspossible. The AVA and the organisation’s specialist Equine VeterinariansAustralia Group advocate for the health and welfare of all horses, not justracehorses, and has policy on Humane Slaughter, which can be viewed

Department of Agriculture and Water Resources statement on footage of themistreatment of horses

The mistreatment of horses in Queensland, depicted in footage aired lastnight, is a matter of great concern.

The regulation of animal welfare remains the responsibility of the states andterritories.

The Department of Agriculture’s role is limited to export abattoirs where itworks to ensure Australian export standards are met.

Consistent with the department’s responsibilities, we are conducting acritical incident audit of the facility at the centre of recent footagedepicting the mistreatment of horses.

Queensland authorities are working closely with the department on this audit.

A preliminary report will be produced early this week.

The department will then determine any regulatory action to be taken.

The department understands that Queensland has requested the original footagefrom the ABC, which will assist in determining a number of important factors,such as when the incidents took place.

The department urges anyone with evidence or concerns about animal welfare toimmediately report it to the relevant state jurisdiction.

State and territory governments are responsible for regulating animal welfarein Australia.

As an export facility, a departmental veterinarian is deployed to the abattoirthat was the subject of the media report.

The role of the departmental veterinarian is to ensure that Australian exportstandards are met, including for animal welfare.

The department is working closely with Queensland authorities to ensure athorough response to the issues raised.

Previous Regulatory Convergence Key to Improve Access to Veterinary Medicinessay Global Veterinary Associations

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