Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, will call for Tasracing to introduce a welfare rule to crack down on owners slaughtering their unwanted racehorses for dogfood without justification, including in their backyards to save on abattoir fees.
Mr Wilkie has been approached by Tasmanians with links to the racing industry who report unwanted racehorses are regularly killed and made into dog food.
“TasRacing must explain – are racehorses being shot, carved up and turned into dogfood for greyhounds?” Mr Wilkie asked. “If they are, this represents a ghastly circle of cruelty in the racing industry where animals that don’t run fast enough are killed. The horses that don’t run fast enough are fed to the dogs, and if the dogs don’t run fast enough, they’re often put to death if they can’t be rehomed.”
Mr Wilkie said the Joint Select Committee on Greyhound Racing in Tasmania in 2015 heard evidence that racehorses were butchered and fed to greyhounds. A Tasmanian greyhound trainer told the Committee he killed racehorses himself to feed to his dogs so he could save on abattoir fees.
“Tasracing must investigate this matter, and if unwanted racehorses are being turned into dogmeat for racing greyhounds, Tasracing must come clean and stamp out this cruel practice,” he said. “I hear this happens to around half the horses who leave the track.”
Mr Wilkie said, that unlike greyhounds, Tasracing lost track of thoroughbreds and harness-racing horses once they retired and there was nothing to prevent owners from slaughtering them.
“Tasracing needs to improve its tracking of horses and introduce a welfare rule similar to the one for greyhounds which requires an owner to make all reasonable efforts to avoid euthanasia, which must be performed by a vet,” Mr Wilkie said. “If it’s good enough for dogs, it’s good enough for horses.”
Mr Wilkie said there was precedent. “Racing NSW introduced laws in 2017 that no owner can put their horse anywhere other than a good home when it leaves the racing industry,” Mr Wilkie said. “If Tasracing cares anything about animal welfare, it can do for horses what it did for greyhounds earlier this year.”
Mr Wilkie raised these issues with the State Government this morning and a copy of the letter is attached. Accompanying the letter is photographic evidence supporting the allegations, but these images cannot be released publicly for legal reasons.