ANIMAL WELFARE — RACEHORSES
1198. Hon ALISON XAMON to the minister representing the
Minister for Racing and Gaming:
I refer to the disturbing report
regarding racehorses sent to slaughter on ABC's 7.30 program on
(1) Can the
minister advise whether any Western Australian racehorses have been or are
being sent to slaughterhouses when they are no longer able to race or are
(2) If no to (1), can the minister advise whether
there is a ban on the practice of discarding unwanted racehorses at
knackeries and abattoirs in WA?
(3) Are rehoming
policies in place in WA and are they sufficient to handle the number of horses
that retire each year?
(4) Has the
minister given any consideration to establishing a horse traceability register
in Western Australia?
(5) If no to (4), why not?
I thank the member for the question.
The Minister for Racing and Gaming has provided the following information.
up, the minister endorses the member's comments about the footage: it
was abhorrent, deplorable behaviour. The
minister wants to ensure that such unacceptable behaviour does not occur in Western
Australia now or ever. Initial advice indicates that this is not
occurring in our state; however, the minister has immediately sought to
understand the landscape of abattoirs and knackeries in WA. In doing so, the
government has identified some challenges that it will address as soon as
possible. One such challenge is the limitation of the Racing and Wagering Western
Australia regulation on racehorses. Although RWWA monitors and regulates
racehorses from their birth to their exit from the racing industry, oversight
beyond racing is not afforded by the current
legislation or regulation. The practice often can be that racehorses are
bought and sold numerous times before a horse
is euthanased or dies of natural causes. WA racehorses that retire from racing
are registered through a single national system, managed by Racing Australia.
According to the single national system, 100 thoroughbred horses were
registered as being euthanased or sent to an abattoir in 2018. RWWA is
interrogating those figures to provide the minister with more accurate data.
Madam President, this is a very long
answer and, unfortunately, I got it only just before question time. Would it be
possible to seek leave to incorporate the rest of the answer into Hansard?
The following material
was incorporated —
challenge is that some race horses (and other horses) are exported to South
Australia for processing and we do not have visibility over the number involved
in this process.
we understand there are a number of unregistered private businesses that
process horses for pet meat. Again, racing authorities have no authority or
visibility over this process.
is currently no ban in place to prevent this practice.
Minister for Racing and Gaming is committed to ensuring the highest possible
standard for the treatment and welfare of race horses from their birth to their
death. He is committed to the humane treatment of these animals, regardless of
their age, or circumstances. This should be done because it is right, and to
ensure the sustainability of this industry in WA. We can only ensure longevity
of the industry if it meets the highest possible standard of welfare.
Australian thoroughbred and Standardbred horses are traced, and any retirement
or death of a horse is registered with Racing Australia or Harness Racing
also runs an 'Off the Track' program to promote the rehoming of
racehorses. The program is a highly reputable rehoming program.
Government, along with RWWA and the Eligible Bodies of racing, can provide
excellent welfare standards for all race horses and I can advise that the
Minister has commenced work on a plan of action to address this matter.