Animal Liberation Batemans Bay – Presentation to Council 12th November 2019 by Coral Anderson.
I’m Coral Anderson. I am here to speak on Agenda item NOM19/008 TREATMENT OF RACEHORSES IN NSW put by Clr Lindsay Brown. I am a member of the RSPCA Eurobodalla Volunteer Branch.
Today I speak on behalf of Animal Liberation Batemans Bay.
Animal Liberation Batemans Bay is a satellite group of Animal Liberation NSW. Our objectives are to permanently improve the lives of all animals through legislation, consumer advocacy, action, and humane education. To raise public awareness initiatives to empower and inspire the community to adopt cruelty-free lifestyle choices.
We believe in a world where all sentient beings are treated with respect and compassion.
Animal Liberation is a worldwide organisation founded by Dr Christine Townend founded in 1976, based on the philosophies set out by Professor Peter Singer in his best selling book, Animal Liberation.
Societies over time have continuously challenged prevailing social views for the rights
of the oppressed. Discrimination against various races and women were, at one point, a dominant social norm. Over time, increasing numbers of people are recognising that other animals are individuals with unique interests and life stories. The oppression, exploitation, and abuse animals are subjected to makes the contemporary animal rights movement one of the most prescient social change movements around the world.
Clr Brown’s Notice of Motion, whilst appreciated, we feel, does not go far enough. The full extent of the cruelty and exploitation that is inherent in all forms of racing where animals are used and gambling is involved, is yet to be exposed to the public. The recent 7.30 Report on retired thoroughbred racehorses ending up in a Queensland knackery came as no surprise to animal welfare/rights organisations. If not for the bravery of undercover activists, the general public would not have become aware of the demise of ex racehorses ending up as pet food. Yet our government seems hell bent on tightening the laws around activists who expose the atrocities and cruelty towards animals whilst at the same time lacking the will to prosecute the perpetrators.
In the United States, horses are not allowed to be used for human consumption nor for pet food, Yet, here in Australia, it is shamefully legal. The unpalatable truth is that horse traders, referred to as ‘kill buyers’ regularly purchase horses no one wants and truck them to a place no horse wants to end up - the abattoir where they are beaten, kicked and abused before being slaughtered.
The horses are bought by these kill buyers direct from trainers, licensed participants in an industry which has, since the 7.30 report aired, spent the past few weeks claiming it had no idea so may thoroughbreds are sent to the slaughterhouses. Is the public expected to believe them?
Respected organisations like the RSPCA, Animals Australia, the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses and Animal Liberation all condemn the use of whips and tongue ties used in the thoroughbred racing industry. Yet, it continues here in Australia. Just as horses deserve a better retirement, they also deserve to be treated humanely while in the industry. Horses are routinely subjected to the use of painful devices in both training and racing with little oversight or awareness of how they are used, how often, and whether they’re actually effective.
While the use of electric shock ‘jiggers’ has been banned for years, unfortunately there are other painful or adversive devices used in racing and training which remain completely legal under the Rules of Racing.
Racehorses are also routinely hit with whips, in our most public form of violence toward animals. This is despite ample evidence showing the use of whips doesn’t affect the race outcome. If horses were whipped in the same way away from the track, it would be a prosecutable animal cruelty offence.
Many Australians also don’t know about the use of ‘tongue-ties’ – a tight strap that ties a horse’s tongue to their jaw in an attempt to prevent them ‘choking’ or avoiding the bit when it cause discomfort. Tongue ties are uncomfortable and distressing to the horse, are used without any requirement for veterinary diagnosis, and there’s little or no evidence that their use is effective.
So what needs to change?
Right now, the RSPCA and other animal advocates are calling for an urgent review into the use of painful and aversive devices, including an end to the cruel and unnecessary routine use of whips.
Given the recent revelations about the use of illegal electric shock jiggers at the highest levels of racing in Australia (including by leading trainer Darren Weir) it’s clear that Racing Australia needs to better investigate and assure the community against illegal practices.
However, while jiggers are banned by racing authorities, the routine use of whips and tongue ties is permitted, despite evidence that these are painful, aversive or distressing to horses.
Urgent action is also sought for the racing industry to reduce the number of horses being bred, change training and racing practices to minimise the risk of injury, and to put better plans in place for the retirement of every horse bred, to assure their welfare.
It’s an inevitable reality of racing that some race horses will ultimately be sent for slaughter; however, the industry must acknowledge this is happening, minimise the numbers, and put proper standards in place.
Animal Liberation Batemans Bay respectfully urges Clr Lindsay Brown to amend his motion with a minor correction as follows:
Replace ‘for’ with the word ‘by’
Add the following paragraphs:
“THAT Council write to Racing NSW urging it to immediately ban the use of whips and tongue ties and other painful or aversive devices in the thoroughbred racing industry in line with recommendations by animal welfare organisations and the expectations of the general public.
THAT Council write to Racing NSW to immediately put in place a plan to reduce the number of horses being bred, change training and racing practices to minimise the risk of injury, and to put better plans in place for the retirement of every horse bred, to assure their welfare.
THAT Council write to Racing NSW to provide accurate information about the experience of every racehorse it produces, from birth to death.
THAT Council write to Racing NSW calling on it for the compulsory collection and publishing of comprehensive life cycle and injury statistics, and the development of a national identification and traceability system for racehorses.”
Animal Liberation Batemans Bay is grateful to Clr Lindsay Brown for bringing the serious matter of animal welfare/rights into this Chamber. It is certainly our hope and expectation that Clr Brown will continue the same display of compassion toward all animals, in particular, he will shine a light on the cruelty of animals abused and exploited in rodeos licensed by this council and conducted on council managed land.
It is a shame that live streaming/recording of Public Forum/Public Access is not part of this council’s Code of Meeting Practice. Hopefully, in the not too distant future, these practices will be the norm.