Racing boss hits back at welfare claims

Thoroughbred racing boss Peter McGauran has hit back at suggestions the industry loses track of horses in great numbers as a protest group calls for an inquiry into the sport.

The chief executive of the thoroughbred regulatory body, Racing Australia, McGauran says a new rule to be introduced shortly will track horses from birth and another rule already in place compels owners to declare what happens to racehorses when they are retired.

The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses says state governments must look into the sport and claims about 10,000 racehorses were retired each year with no way to track them.

CPR drew comparisons with the greyhound industry which was last week banned in NSW.

“Take away the live-baiting and horseracing has exactly the same animal welfare issues greyhound racing has,” CPR campaign director Elio Celotto said in a statement on Monday.

McGauran said that was untrue.

“The claim that racing authorities are inactive on welfare issues is not supported by the facts,” McGauran said.

“We are acutely aware of our responsibility to meet community animal welfare expectations and purposely enforce the rules of racing to this end.

“Traceability is the cornerstone of integrity and animal welfare.”

A new rule to released this week brings all thoroughbreds and their owners under the Australian Rules of Racing.

Foals will need to be registered within 30 days of birth unlike previously when they were not registered as racehorses until they reached the racing age of two.

Racing Australia also introduced a rule two years ago compelling owners and trainers to declare the fate of their retired racehorses.

The result is that 90 per cent of horses are retired to breeding, equestrian or recreational sectors, 5.5 per cent die naturally, 3.5 per cent are humanely euthanised, 0.5 per cent are sent to an abattoir and 1 per cent are not accounted for.


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