This type of news is becoming commonplace. There needs to be a lot of re-thinking about what we are forcing horses to do.
Jump racing carnage kills three horses
June 30, 2008
In what can only be described as a day of carnage for the Australasian racing industry, three horses lost their lives in two races on either side of the Tasman on Saturday.
The deaths have prompted horse welfare activists to renew their calls for an end to jump racing. There have been 10 deaths in Australia alone in the past four months, and the fatality rate from falls has more than doubled this year.
Only four horses out of 13 managed to finish the $A250,000 Grand National Hurdles at Flemington, and two horses, Charted and Eveready, were euthanised after being injured. One horse fell at the first jump in the home straight, bringing down another horse and rider. The rider, Adrian Garraway, lay unconscious on the track for the remainder of the race, and the six horses left in the field on the second round were instructed to miss out that jump.
The race was won by outsider Derringer. Racing Victoria apparently had little to say about the race, describing it on its website as "an incident packed National. Only four horses completed the course."
Victoria is one of only two states in Australia which still allow jumps racing, and the state's racing minister Rob Hulls said after the race the report into the sport, expected to be released at the end of the season, would now be fast-tracked. It is expected within four weeks.
He said: "If anyone thinks that this is an acceptable by-product of jumps racing then they have little regard for the safety of jockeys or horses."
Glenys Oogjes, Executive Director of Animals Australia, said the jumps racing toll now stood at 10 horses for the season. The welfare group called on Minister Hulls to stop jumps racing, which she described as "a brutal sport".
"Apart from the high death rate, horses are falling and being injured at an alarming rate. The new-style 'soft top' jumps are a spectacular failure. Sadly the 'spectacle' is now the falling horses and the green shrouds that shield the public as officials put down the hapless victims.
"Jumps racing is placing riders and horses at severe risk of death and injury. Minister Hulls has no choice - he either accepts responsibility for the continued carnage caused by these events, or he uses his authority to put an end to this so-called 'sport'," she said.
Such a movement may well find its way to New Zealand, too, after a horror race at Hawke's Bay on Saturday. In the $40,000 open hurdle, only two of the six runners finished. Three horses Gull, Ravanelli, and Bennyosler, fell, and Bejayjay was brought down and was euthanised. Gull galloped straight into a fence and did not attempt to jump it.