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Racing - Interstate Abattoirs

Cassy O'Connor MP  -  Thursday, 9 September 2021

Tags: TasRacing, Horse Racing, State Budget

Ms O'CONNOR - Thank you. Minister, I know that you're aware of the really distressing story that was on the ABC 7.30 Report nearly two years ago now about the fate of racing horses including from Tasmania that are sent to abattoirs interstate or to what they call 'the doggers'. Are you able to provide any information on the chain of custody arrangements for horses in the racing industry in Tasmania to make sure that we're not sending beautiful horses to the abattoir just because they can't run fast enough and they cost too much to feed?

Ms HOWLETT - I thank the member for her question. I will hand over to the deputy secretary in a moment. What I can tell you, is just like the Greyhound Code, specific rules have been put in place for traceability of the greyhound from when the pup is born to the end of its life. I know that from an Australian point of view, the thoroughbred industry and the harness industry are certainly looking at traceability.

Ms O'CONNOR - It would be fair to say it's not in place at the moment though, is it?

Ms HOWLETT - That's something that is being worked on at the moment. As I said, TasRacing is working closely with Harness Racing Australia and Racing Australia, and other jurisdictions to ensure that equine traceability rules in retirement processes are in line to meet the growing social expectations of the racing industry.

Trainers or owners are bound by the rules of racing regarding the retirement process. Currently, registered horses that have been retired or if a decision has been made not to race, the owner or trainer must notify the registrar within one month of the horse's retirement. If a registered horse dies within 14 days of being entered or participated in a race, the owner or trainer must notify the controlling body within 24 hours of its occurrence. The Office of Racing Integrity monitors racing animals for retirement and fully investigates any breaches of rules.

The thoroughbred industry has come together to announce a strategy to develop a national horse welfare theme. The Thoroughbred Breeders Association of Australia and the Australian Trainers Association, and the Australian Jockeys Association, along with other stakeholders, have established an independent working group and they will be looking at the traceability.