Queensland racing minister calls out Federal Government on inaction about animal welfare

Queensland Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe has called on the Federal Government to create a National Horse Traceability Register as a matter of urgency.

Mr Hinchliffe said the register would go a long way to address some of the issues raised in an ABC TV report about the treatment of racehorses after their racing careers had ended.

“The Morrison Government has contributed very little to the Australia-wide conversation that’s happening around racing horses and what happens to them when their racing career has ended.

“A national register is needed for all horses, not just racehorses, right now to address the fundamental issue of the lack of data on horse populations in Australia,” he said.

“Thoroughbred Breeders Australia, the Australian Trainers’ Association and the Australian Jockeys’ Association have all recognised the need for a national register.

“Through Racing Australia, it is a requirement to register retiring racehorses, but we know that some owners have been lax in doing this.

“This lack of data is a problem in Queensland, where we’ve just extended a two-week amnesty to four weeks so horse owners and trainers in the racing industry can update their racehorse retirement data.

“Once we’ve got that information, the Martin Inquiry that’s looking into some of the Queensland aspects of the ABC story can move ahead.

“What we need now, though, is action from the Federal Government.”

Mr Hinchliffe was speaking from Perth, where racing ministers from around the country were meeting to talk about a range of issues, including animal welfare.

He said he was disappointed that the person responsible for animal welfare in the Federal Government, Minister for Agriculture Bridget McKenzie, was unable to attend but welcomed the secretary of the department in the minister’s absence.

“There would have been very few people in the nation who weren’t horrified by the images we saw when the show went to air in October,” he said.

“Now it’s time for the Federal Government to be part of the solution.”

To date, the Palaszczuk Government has:

  • Initiated the independent Martin inquiry into retired racehorses and animal welfare concerns.
  • Held two industry forums about retraining and rehoming retired racehorses in Queensland.
  • Announced a one per cent prize money levy from 1 January 2020 to fund rehoming programs.

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