[COPY] Following a record year of racehorse death in Australia, this racing season has got off to a shocking start.
In just the first week of the 2023/’24 racing season, 10 thoroughbreds were killed from race-track injuries, setting the tone for another year of unprecedented death and suffering.
In October the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) published its Deathwatch 2023 Report to show 168 horses died at the racetrack during season 2022/’23 - the grimmest toll since CPR started recording race-day deaths in 2014.
The record number is a 20% increase in racehorse deaths from the previous year and represents a horse being killed on an Australian racetrack every two days from August 1, 2022 to July 31, 2023.
Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) Campaign Director Elio Celotto says this season is on track to be even worse than its predecessor with more than one horse a day dying in the first week.
“It is simply not good enough for the racing industry to be putting out propaganda videos about how much they care about their horses when they are turning a blind eye to all the horses killed on the track,” Mr Celotto says.
"We’re seeing the racing industry do what it always does when it tries to regain the confidence of the public. It spends more and more money on the marketing machine instead of doing the real work of caring about its horses.”
CPR has been researching and publishing a record of deaths caused by racing-related injuries because the racing industry does not collate and publish the horrific data, he says.
CPR monitors every race in Australia to keep an annual count of the gruesome stats.
Fifty-one of the 168 horses killed by racing last season died past the winning post, meaning many were suffering injuries while being beaten and pushed beyond their limits to the finish line.
The most common cause of death was from an injury sustained to the horses’ forelimb, occurring in 63 instances.
New South Wales has the most blood on its hands of any state with 53 deaths, followed by Queensland with 40 and Victoria, with 39.
However, the Report revealed Racing Victoria remains the biggest culprit of not reporting the cause of death of a horse - failing to do so on 16 separate occasions.
As the nation prepares to stop for the Melbourne Cup, the findings showed that last season Racing Victoria hid more horse injuries and deaths than any other state-racing authority by editing race replays.
"Efforts to hide deaths are greater than ever,” Mr Celotto says.
“When the racing industry chooses to ignore calls for transparency, it means it has much to hide.”
As horrific as the reported numbers are, the true number of horses killed is much higher, he says.
“Many sustain injuries and are taken off the racetrack and later euthanised. This way their deaths don’t have to appear in Stewards’ Reports. The industry records them as ‘retired’ and wipes their hands of them.
“If the racing industry was serious about animal welfare, it would offer complete transparency about the retirement of all its horses.”
Mr Celotto is aghast at Racing Victoria’s “so-called” 'Onsite Humane Euthanasia Program' that facilitates the killing of unwanted racehorses and “disposes of them without a trace, free of charge”.
"The Australian people have a right to know the truth about what happens to horses instead of being fed propaganda from an industry that still has much to hide. Our Deathwatch Report exposes this truth - it is brutal and entirely unacceptable.
“As the nation prepares to get into party mode for the Melbourne Cup, people need to know they are actually ‘celebrating’ the maiming and murder of a magnificent, highly intelligent and sensitive animal on an industrial scale.
“I’m sure the champagne wouldn’t taste so sweet if people were aware of how cruel and bloodthirsty the sport is.”
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2023 - the worst year on record:
· The race-day death toll for the 2022/2023 racing year is 168 horses - the worst since CPR started recording race-day deaths in 2014
· This is twenty-nine more than last year
· A horse was killed on Australian racetracks every two days
· The most common cause of death was from an injury sustained to the horses’ forelimb with 63 instances
· Six horses died in their first-ever race
· Fifty-one horses died past the winning post, meaning many were suffering injuries whilst being beaten and pushed beyond their limits to the finish line
· Ten horses were two years old or younger when they died from a racing injury
· Of the horses that were killed, 60 had been raced as two-year-olds
· Racing Victoria remains the biggest culprit of not reporting the cause of death of a horse – failing to do so 16 times
· Racing Victoria edits racing replays to hide horse injuries and deaths more than any other state racing authority
· The state with the highest number of recorded deaths was New South Wales with 53, followed by Queensland, 40 and Victoria, with 39
· The most lethal track in Australia was Thoroughbred Park - Canberra ACT with six recorded deaths, followed by Aquis Park - Gold Coast, QLD and Ascot – Perth, WA, each with five confirmed deaths.
About the deadly start to the 2023/2024 season
· From August 1 to 7 2023 - the very first week of the new 'racing year' - 10 horses were killed due to injuries sustained on Australian racetracks – equating to more than one a day.
· If the season continues at that rate, the industry would have killed more than 500 thoroughbreds by the year’s end, nearly three times as many as last year’s record season.
Details of the horses that died
· Jamarra (3-year-old): On 1 Aug suffered exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage (EIPH) while being raced at Pakenham VIC and bled from both nostrils for the second time so was banned from racing. He was reported dead three weeks later.
· Think Bold (4-year-old): On 1 Aug fell in a jumps trial at Traralgon VIC and was killed. Details of injuries sustained were never reported.
· Em Aye Dee (4-year-old): On 3 Aug found dead in her stable at Moruya NSW. The vet could not explain why.
· Big Parade (6-year-old): On 5 Aug was pushed beyond his limits in the home straight at Rosehill NSW and suffered a "catastrophic injury" to his shoulder, lost his footing and hit the barrier before his jockey dismounted. He could not bear weight on his nearside leg and was eventually euthanised on the track in front of cheering crowds. The race caller commented "Very unfortunate scenes, most unfortunate".
· Just Too Sweet (6-year-old): On 5 Aug sustained a "catastrophic injury" to her near-hind leg with 400m to go at the Gilgandra track in NSW. She was consequently euthanised.
· First in Line (7-year-old): On 5 Aug he collapsed and died after a race at Flemington. No reason was given.
· Otelo (4-year-old): On 5 Aug Otelo was being raced for the 29th time at the Nanango track in QLD. With 600 metres to go, he suffered a "suspected internal bleed" (EIPH) and died.
· Siberian Route (6-year-old): On 6 Aug the gelding "faltered in his action" and suffered a fracture to his near-hind pastern while racing at the Townsville track. He was euthanised on the track.
· Yamamoto (4-year-old): On 6 Aug at the same Townsville meet, the gelding suffered "significant injuries to his off-foreleg” while pushed hard on the home straight. He was euthanised.
· Bet Red (7-year-old): On 7 Aug the gelding was euthanised on due to a fractured shoulder he had sustained two weeks prior during a jump out at the Goulburn track.
About the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR)
· CPR was established in 2008 to address and raise awareness about the serious animal welfare concerns that are rife throughout Australia’s thoroughbred horse racing industry.
· CPR advocates for horses because the racing industry that uses and abuses them does not.
About CPR’s Deathwatch Report
· Since 2014 CPR has been researching and publishing annual Deathwatch Reports to record the deaths caused by racing-related injuries during the ‘racing year’ from August 1 to July 31.
· CPR monitors every race Australia-wide to gather data on the deaths of racehorses on Australian racetracks to compile each Deathwatch Report.
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Kieren Eager, Ph 0420 521 659 or email email@example.com
Glenda Wynyard, Ph 0410 736 785 or email Gwynyard@mediaprecinct.com.au