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Animal Welfare - Senate Select Committee - Reports - Aspects of Animal Welfare in the Racing Industry, August 1991


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The Parliament o f the Commonwealth o f Australia

Aspects of Animal Welfare in the Racing Industry

Senate Select Committee

on Animal Welfare

August 1991

Australian Government Publishing Service Canberra

The Parliament of the Commonwealth of Australia

ASPECTS OF ANIMAL WELFARE IN THE RACING INDUSTRY

Report by the Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare

August 1991

© Commonwealth of Australia 1991

ISBN 0 642 16613 7

Printed in Australia by A. J. LAW, Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra

MEMBERS OF THE COMMITTEE

Appointment of the Committee

The Committee was established on 17 November 1983 and reappointed on 22 February 1985, 22 September 1987 and 9 May 1990.

Members

Senator Bryant Burns, Queensland, Chairman (from May 1990)

Senator David Brownhill, New South Wales, Deputy Chairman (from July 1985)

Senator Robert Bell, Tasmania (from May 1990)

Senator Paul Calvert, Tasmania (from September 1987)

Senator Barney Cooney, Victoria (from July 1985)

Senator Nick Sherry, Tasmania (from August 1990)

A list of former members of the Committee appears at Appendix 1 to this report.

Committee Secretariat

Mr N. Bessel!, Secretary Mr M. Lane, Principal Research Officer

The Senate Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600

Tel: (06) 277 3510

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CONTENTS

Page

Major Conclusions ix

Preface xv

Introduction xix

CHAPTER 1: The Use of the Whip

1.1 1.2 and 1.3 1.4 to 1.7

1.8 to 1.10 1.11 to 1.14

1.15 1.16 to 1.20

1.21 to 1.23

1.24 to 1.36 Endnotes

Introduction Evidence Against the Whip The Whip as an Instrument of Pain

Abuse and Overuse The Whip as a Detraction from Horsemanship Evidence Defending the Whip

The Whip is not an Instrument of Pain The Whip is Rarely Abused or Overused Views of the Committee

1 1

1 3

CHAPTER 2: Racing Two Year Old Horses

2.1 to 2.4 Introduction 11

2.5 to 2.25 Views on the Racing of Two Year Olds 11

2.26 and 2.27 Conclusions 16

Endnotes

CHAPTER 3: Jump Racing

3.1 Introduction 19

3.2 to 3.9 Opposition to Jump Racing 19

3.10 to 3.17 Support for Jump Racing 21

v

CO ^ "3" LO CO

3.18 to 3.22 3.23 3.24 Endnotes

Fatality and Injury Rates Conclusions Reservation

CHAPTER 4: Drugs

4.1 to 4.10 4.11 to 4.16 4.17 to 4.19 4.20 to 4.23

Endnotes

Concerns About Drug Use in Racing Drug Detection Use of Drugs in Training Conclusions

CHAPTER 5: Other Animal Welfare Concerns

5.1 5.2

Introduction Specific Animal Welfare Concerns - Horse Racing

5.3 to 5.7 5.8 to 5.13

Lameness Exercise-Induced

5.14 to 5.17 5.18

Pulmonary Haemorrhage Abuse and Cruelty Specific Animal Welfare Concerns - Greyhound Racing

5.19 to 5.27 5.28 5.29 to 5.31 5.32 and 5.33 5.34 5.35

Use of Live Lures Other Concerns Vaccination Therapeutic Care of Dogs

Destruction of Animals

Specific Animal Welfare Concerns - Harness Racing

5.36 to 5.44 5.45 and 5.46 Endnotes

Sulky Design Swish Whips

CHAPTER 6: Improving Welfare in the Racing Industry

6.1 6.2 to 6.6

Introduction Quality of Training

6.7 to 6.13 Track Design and Ergonomics 46

6.14 to 6.18 Codes of Practice 47

6.19 to 6.23 Policing and Enforcement of Animal

Endnotes

Welfare 48

APPENDICES

Appendix 1 Former Members of the Committee 51

Appendix 2 Witnesses who appeared before the

Committee

53

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MAJOR CONCLUSIONS

CHAPTER 1: THE USE OF THE WHIP

In assessing the opposing views on the use of the whip, the Committee considers that it is essential to distinguish between the whip as a guide or control and the whip as an instrument of pain to make a horse run

faster.

The Committee accepts the use of the whip as a guide or control. The whip or crop is necessary to provide the rider or driver with an additional aid to controlling the horse. The elimination of the "guide" could possibly contribute to accidents, threatening horses with injury or even death.

Therefore, the Committee does not support a total ban on the use of the whip in thoroughbred racing.

The Committee, however, cannot condone the use of the whip to inflict pain on a horse for no other purpose than to make the horse run faster in what is essentially a sporting event. Competent riding of a horse using only hands and heels to urge the horse on should provide just as an exciting race and may also encourage more emphasis on improving

horsemanship. The Committee would like to see the use of whips as a means of making a horse run faster eliminated from horse racing.

The Committee received evidence on short and long term strategies to constrain the use of the whip. For example, the Committee was impressed with the views presented by Dr Heynes of the Australian Veterinary Association that changes in the use of the whip need to come

about as a result of pressure from public opinion. Dr Heynes suggested in his evidence that those who are urging the banning of the whip put up prizemoney for races where use of the whip is severely restricted. Dr Heynes suggested that this could first occur on the smaller country tracks where prize money is also smaller.

The Committee considers that there may be a major difficulty with the approach suggested by Dr Heynes in that it is unlikely that animal welfare bodies, even the larger ones, would have the resources to sponsor these races on the scale that is necessary. The Committee therefore considers that the major racing clubs could play a part in conducting whip-free

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races. The Committee also considers that major private companies should consider sponsoring such races.

The Committee also considers that shorter term reforms should be introduced to further protect the welfare of horses during racing.

Firstly, the Committee is of the view that regulations should be introduced forbidding jockeys from whipping horses that have clearly lost the opportunity to achieve a placing in any race. No horse should be whipped if it is clear that it will not achieve a place. There will obviously

be some potential for dispute for horses trailing just behind the leaders in a race, but there will be a significant number of horses in any race to which this rule should apply.

The introduction of such regulations would formalise what representatives of the Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs themselves defined as excessive use of the whip, namely:

If a rider hit a horse vigorously over a long period, or if he whipped a horse that was beaten, or whipped a horse that had no chance of getting anywhere, we would deem that to be excessive if he used it vigorously.

Such an approach should be specifically incorporated into the relevant regulations governing the use of the whip. The current regulations as stated in the Rules approved by the Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs do not, in fact, do anything more than prohibit in very

general terms "excessive" use of the whip. The only specific provision is that the horse shall not be hit forward of the shoulder or on or about the horse's head.

Secondly, the Committee is of the view that the rules relating to the use of whips be implemented with greater diligence than in the past and that penalties should be increased. Any jockey convicted of mistreating a horse with a whip during a race should face an immediate period of disqualification, even on first offence.

Thirdly, the Committee also considers that a restriction on the number of times a jockey can hit a horse during the course of a race should be considered.

Fourthly, the Committee considers that random inspection of horses in their stables 30-40 minutes after the race should be introduced in order to check for weals.

CHAPTER 2: RACING TWO YEAR OLDS HORSES

The Committee considers that the welfare of racing two year olds would be improved by requiring veterinary certification of maturity.

The Committee recognised that the readiness of any individual horse for racing cannot necessarily be determined simply through an examination of the epiphysial plates. Nevertheless, the Committee considers that this and other procedures will enable a more reliable assessment of a horses

readiness for racing.

CHAPTER 3: JUMP RACING

Based on evidence received during the inquiry, the Committee has serious concerns about the welfare of horses participating in jump races. These concerns are based on the significant probability of a horse suffering serious injury or even death as a result of participating in these

events and, in particular, steeplechasing. This concern is exacerbated by evidence suggesting that, even with improvements to the height and placing of jumps, training and education, the fatality rate would remain constant. The Committee, therefore, can only conclude that there is an

inherent conflict between these activities and animal welfare. Accordingly, the Committee is of the view that relevant State Governments should phase out jump racing over the next three years.

Reservation

Senators Brownhill, Calvert and Cooney share the Committee's concern about the fatality rate in jump racing. The Senators, however, consider that improvements to jump racing facilities and practices will alleviate many animal welfare problems. Changes should include the bandaging

of legs, improvements to jump height, placement and the material used in jumps as well as better training and preparation of horses and jockeys.

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CHAPTER 4: DRUGS

The Committee is opposed to the use of any prohibited substance in racing. It is also opposed to the use of prescription veterinary drugs by unqualified personnel. The Committee welcomes recent advances in drug detection and encourages all racing bodies to ensure that racing of all kinds is drug-free.

The Committee has three main concerns regarding this aspect of horse welfare in the racing industry. Firstly, it considers that it is essential that research into race chemistry be extended in order to counter the

introduction of new chemicals and drugs. The Committee is therefore of the very strong belief that allocation of TAB levies to research should be maintained. Secondly, the Committee is of the view that pre and post race testing at country events should be increased. Thirdly, the Committee considers that heavy penalties ranging from substantial fines to life bans should be imposed on those responsible for the

administration of prohibited substances.

CHAPTER 5: OTHER ANIMAL WELFARE CONCERNS

Horse Racing

Lameness

The Committee notes that several witnesses recognised the problems associated with lameness of horses in the racing industry. Given the incidence of this condition, the Committee considers that priority should be given to research into lameness in order to reduce wastage among racehorses.

Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage

The Committee considers that a major research priority should be to investigate the prevalence of undetected Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage in Australia and methods to reduce it.

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Greyhound Racing

Use o f Live Lures

The Committee sees the use of live animals for blooding greyhounds as essentially a straightforward matter of cruelty towards animals. No arguments can or have been put forward to defend the use of live lures. Allowing live animals to be torn apart by greyhounds is a manifest act of

cruelty towards animals and should not happen. The Committee is of the view that the greyhound industry must take a more positive role to prevent the use of live lures.

The Committee supports the view of RSPCA on the need for stiffen penalties for people convicted of using live animals for blooding. The Committee is of the view that people convicted of such offences, especially repeat offenders, should be banned from participation in all aspects of the industry for a significant length of time.

Harness Racing

Sulky Design

The Committee urges the Australian Harness Racing Council to investigate thoroughly the implications for animal welfare of changes to the design of sulkies.

CHAPTER 6: IMPROVING ANIMAL WELFARE IN THE RACING INDUSTRY

Quality o f Training

The Committee considers that formal training and examination in the physiology, anatomy, locomotion and husbandry of horses should be phased in over a period of time for all trainers seeking licensing or registration. Similar training and examination procedures should apply to those who handle greyhounds.

The Committee is of the view that racing associations should sponsor seminars and education programs in order to promote sound animal welfare practices amongst those who handle animals involved in racing.

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Track Design and Ergonomics

The Committee is of the view that the racing industry, especially thoroughbred racing, should make every effort to improve the quality of track design. Based on discussions with leading members of the racing industry, the Committee understands that the costs involved in improving track design would not be prohibitive especially when compared with associated costs of injuries to horses.

Codes o f Practice

The Committee considers that Codes of Practice should be developed through co-operation between the racing industry authorities, the Australian Veterinary Association, animal welfare organisations and other

interested parties.

The Committee is of the view that Codes of Practice would benefit the industry as these codes would clarify the industries' position on acceptable and unacceptable practices.

Policing and Enforcement o f Animal Welfare

The Committee is of the view that the respective racing authorities must take more responsibility for overseeing and controlling the welfare of animals involved in every facet of their industries. The Committee considers that these authorities should either enhance and extend their

role in this area, or implement alternative strategies.

For example, RSPCA plays an active role in safeguarding the basic welfare of animals involved in the industry and has considerable expertise in this area. Indeed, the Committee understands that most animal welfare concerns, including those leading to prosecution, are initiated by RSPCA.

In order to safeguard the welfare of animals involved in all facets of the racing industry, State Governments should consider channelling a percentage of TAB revenue to RSPCA. In return, RSPCA could ensure the highest animal welfare standards. This in turn would foster an even more professional, modern and accountable racing industry as far as animal welfare is concerned.

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PREFACE

Terms of Reference

In November 1983, the Senate established a Select Committee to inquire into and report upon the following matter:

the question of animal welfare in Australia, with particular reference to:

(a) interstate and overseas commerce in

animals;

(b) wildlife protection and harvesting;

(c) animal experimentation;

(d) codes of practice of animal husbandry for all species; and

(e) the use of animals in sport.

To date, the Committee has presented ten reports to the Senate. These are:

Export of Live Sheep from Australia 1985

Dolphins and Whales in Captivity 1985

Kangaroos 1988

Animal Experimentation 1989

Sheep Husbandry 1989

Intensive Livestock Production 1990

Racing Industry (Interim Report) 1990

Culling of Large Feral Animals in the Northern Territory 1991

Transport of Livestock within Australia 1991

Equine Welfare in Competitive Events other than Racing 1991

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In May 1988 the Committee began the inquiry into the animal welfare aspects of the racing industry as part of its more general reference on the question of animal welfare in Australia.

Conduct of the Inquiry

The following public hearings were held:

Sydney: April 1989

Melbourne (2): June 1989

Sydney: July 1989

Melbourne: November 1989

A list of witnesses who appeared at these hearings at Appendix 2.

The Committee also conducted inspections at Rosehill Racecourse, Sydney, in July 1989, Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne, in November 1989 and Dubbo City Racecourse in February 1990. The Committee visited harness racing events at Harold Park, Sydney, in December 1989 and Dubbo Harness Racing Club in February 1990. Formal inspections were also held at Olympic Park Greyhound Racing Track, Melbourne, in November 1990 and Dawson Park, Dubbo, in February 1990.

The Committee tabled an interim report on this matter in June 1990, anticipating that it would be able to resume its work on this subject. The Committee was requested to table a final report on this matter by October 1990. Subsequently, the Senate resolved to extend the time for the

presentation of the report to June 1991 and then to August 1991.

Scope of the Report

The Committee regrets that it has not been able to present a more comprehensive report on this matter. This is so for several reasons.

Firstly, with the re-establishment of the Committee following the election in 1990, the membership of the Committee changed. Indeed, half of the current members of the Committee were not members of the Committee when most evidence was received.

Secondly, at the same time, the Committee received three new references. The newly constituted Committee has inquired into these

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matters and reported promptly to the Senate. Reports have been tabled on the following matters:

• Culling of large feral animals in the Northern Territory; • Transport of Livestock within Australia; and • Equine Welfare in Competitive Events other than Racing

Thirdly, the Senate has resolved that at the completion of its current inquiries, the Committee's work should be completed. To present a comprehensive report on the racing industry, the Committee considers that further hearings, and re-hearing of previous evidence, would be

essential. In the circumstances, the Committee considers that this is not warranted.

Specific Issues

The Committee, however, is in a position to comment on some specific issues raised in evidence presented in 1988 and 1989 and wishes to place its views on record. These issues relate to the following matters:

• use and abuse of the whip

• racing of two year olds

• jump racing

• use of drugs

• animal welfare and the racing industry

Acknowledgments

The Committee expresses its appreciation to those who made written submissions to the inquiry and who co-operated with the Committee by giving public evidence. The Committee also acknowledges the assistance of those who arranged and conducted inspections and briefings.

Bryant Burns Chairman

The Senate Canberra

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INTRODUCTION

The two components of the racing industry in Australia are horse racing (thoroughbred racing and harness racing) and greyhound racing. Both are large industries.

There are well over one hundred thousand horses in Australia which have been bred for use in horse racing. According to evidence received in 1989 from the Australian Horse Council:

The thoroughbred industry has approximately 36,000 studbook brood mares and 11,000 non-studbook mares. There are approximately 4,000 stallions standing at stud in Australia, and approximately 21,000 thoroughbred yearlings in the studbook. About the same number of foals are returned each year. We have

about 36,000 racehorses and the total number of registered horses is approximately 129,000.

The Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs provided the following information on the size of the horse racing industry:

The racing industry has an annual turnover of more than $20 billion and employing more than 250,000 people, [and] racing is Australia's third largest industry. It generates more than $450 million each year in State and local government taxes. And, within the industry, racing last season [1988-89]

distributed prizemoney totalling $146 million at meetings held by 500 clubs.

The Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs maintains that it is satisfied with the state of animal welfare in the industry. The Conference points to improvements in some specific areas, such as drug testing, where the welfare of the horse was a specific concern. Stewards are

enforcing strict supervision of the treatment of horses "on" and "off" course and there are sufficient powers to deal with issues concerning animal welfare.

According to the Greyhound Racing Control Board, there are over 40,000 greyhounds associated with the greyhound racing industry, including 20,000 in training. There are about 18,000 people registered as owners

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of greyhounds, of whom almost two thirds train their own dogs. There are approximately 3,500 non-owner trainers.

The Board advised the Committee that the welfare of the greyhounds is of prime importance and the Board endeavours, within its resources, to ensure that the situation of as many animals as possible is inspected annually.

The major animal welfare organisations, such as the Royal Society for Prevention to Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA) do not oppose racing as such. RSPCA policy is that people will use animals but that such use should be humane. RSPCA (NSW) and RSPCA (Vic) as well as the Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animal Societies (ANZFAS) have serious concerns about aspects of the use of animals in the racing industry.

CHAPTER 1

THE USE OF THE WHIP

Introduction

1.1 All the major animal welfare organisations that presented evidence to the inquiry called for the banning of the use of the whip in horse racing. When this proposal was discussed at public hearings with representatives from the racing industry it was usually rejected out of

hand. There was a mixed response from the equine veterinarians.

Evidence Against the Whip

1.2 Three arguments were advanced in support of a ban of the whip. These are:

• the whip as an instrument of pain; • inevitability of abuse and overuse; and • the whip as a detraction from horsemanship.

1.3 These matters are reviewed in the following section.

The Whip as an Instrument of Pain

1.4 The Committee notes that the consensus amongst animal welfare organisations is that the whip should be banned from horse racing. It was argued that the whip is used to inflict pain as a means of spurring the horse to greater effort. For example, in its submission the Australian and

New Zealand Federation of Animal Societies, stated:

Physical pain or psychological stress should not be inflicted on an animal as an incident of providing a spectacle for human entertainment or making money from a "sport". The use of the whip in horse racing can result in both of the

above.

A total ban on the use of the whips would not disadvantage any individual horse because all starters would be equally constrained. Presently jockeys and drivers are virtually

1

expected to use the whip in order to be seen to do all in their power to improve their horse's position.1

1.5 ANZFAS also provided the Committee with supporting opinions on the cruelty involved in the use of whips in flat racing, jump racing and harness racing. These opinions from published literature were quoted in the submission from the Federation.

The use of the whip is not a necessity as many races are won without it. A lot of horses ... do not respond. While some may try to run away from it, or more rarely dig the toes in and slow down, most non-responders simply show no increase in acceleration.2

Some horses will fear the whip and may gallop faster when threatened. Others will resent it so much that they will slow down or come to a sudden halt every time the whip is lifted. Some will lash out violently each time the whip descends. The whole object of the whip would appear to be to increase the inherent sense of panic present in most racehorses when galloping at their hardest.3

If a racehorse has put all its energy and stamina into a race, no useful purpose is served by whipping it. If a horse has given his all, then no amount of whipping will produce any extra response.4

1.6 Organisations such as RSPCA, both in Victoria and New South Wales, consider that this infliction of pain is unnecessary. It was argued, for example, that if horses are to be raced on their merits then it should be sufficient for the jockey to ride the horse out using hands and heels only.

1 7 Dr Michael Heynes, from the Australian Veterinary Association also commented on this matter in the following terms:

Obviously, a whip is intended to hurt, otherwise it does not work ... You can call it a persuader or what you like but if the horse does not feel it, it is not going to do anything. Let us not beat around the bush. If he is not going to feel it you might as well not have it.5

2

Abuse and Overuse

1.8 An additional argument presented in support of the banning of whips was that the commercial pressures of horse racing inevitably result in overuse and abuse of the whip. It was claimed that it is unreasonable to expect a jockey or driver to pass up the opportunity of winning a race

out of concern for the well-being of the horse. Additionally, there is an inherent conflict between using every means to ensure that the horse runs to its limit, and the restrictions on excessive use of the whip. Generally, the use of the whip to get the most out of a horse will take

priority over the animal's welfare.

1.9 It has been put to the Committee that in racing and trotting, stewards do not adequately enforce the rules with regard to whips. In support of this contention, RSPCA (NSW) presented in evidence videos showing examples of whip use that appeared excessive. According to

RSPCA (NSW) these cases went unpunished. Contrary to comments of the Victoria Racing Club's Chief Steward, anecdotal evidence suggests that many jockeys and drivers consider that vigorous and visible use of the whip is an essential part of riding and driving a horse to its limit.

1.10 RSPCA (NSW) also told the Committee that horses were whipped even when they had no chance of gaining a place, let alone winning. This was because racing stewards expect jockeys to ride their horse out, no matter what the horse's position in the field. The Society argued that jockeys are expected to ensure that their horse achieves the best place

it can, even if that means moving up from last to second last place. In order to achieve this, it is also expected that the whip be used.

The Whip as a Detraction from Horsemanship

1.11 Evidence to the Committee also disputed the effect of the whip. It was argued that there is no consistent response by the horse. Some horses will go faster or straighten up, which is the desired response. However, others will veer away from the whip or slow down thus

defeating the objectives of its use. In other cases, an animal will be so conditioned to the use of the whip that it will not exert itself until the whip is used.

1.12 The Committee was told that this range of effects undermines the arguments for the use of the whip. If there are variable responses then

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the whip is not an equaliser which encourages every horse to do its best. Equally, it is not an aid to safety if the horse may veer away from the whip.

1.13 Evidence also suggested that the presence of the whip encourages poor practices both in the training of horses and the teaching of jockeys. For example, jockeys relying on the whip to "steer" the horse or to speed it up will ride short and be less reliant on their legs and less capable of vigorous hands and heels riding. As suggested above, a horse schooled to respond to the whip may also be less responsive to other controls.

1.14 According to the evidence, the whip may appear essential only because both the rider and the horse are conditioned to its use. Were its use to be curtailed or banned, then alternative training methods and riding techniques would be used to minimise the disruption caused.

Evidence Defending the Whip

1.15 The views noted above were disputed by other witnesses appearing before the Committee. Their evidence is reviewed in the following section of the report.

The Whip Is Not An Instrument of Pain

1.16 Representatives of the racing industry rejected calls for banning of the whip.

1.17 The Victorian Bloodline Breeders Association (VBBA) submitted to the Committee that:

Other parties in the past have advocated a ban on the use of the whip in racing on the grounds that the pain inflicted could not be justified. The VBBA rejects this view as emotional and ill-founded, lacking in knowledge of horsemanship and

ignoring the current measures and rules of the Principal Clubs in controlling and restricting excessive use of the whip.

1.18 The VBBA continued:

More correctly the implement should be referred to as a "crop", which is an important aid in communication between

4

the rider and the horse. It is not an instrument designed primarily to inflict pain or punishment as might be inferred from use of the word, "whip".6

1.19 A similar view was expressed by Dr Patricia Ellis, a member of the Australian Equine Veterinary Association, when giving evidence to the Committee during another inquiry. In addressing the question of the necessity of whips, she replied:

Essential is the word I would use; used tactfully and

sympathetically. ... You need your whip as an aid to guide or control.7

1.20 Other evidence recognised that reducing the ability of the jockey to "guide or control" the horse may be a contributing factor in causing accidents that may result in injury or death to a horse.

The Whip is Rarely Abused or Overused

1.21 Representatives of the racing and trotting industries also maintain that the use of whips is regulated adequately by the governing bodies of their industry. Accordingly, representatives of the Australian Conference

of Principal Racing Clubs recommended that:

the whip be retained as an essential aid to the rider and that the matter of excessive use ... should be left in the hands of the stewards.8

1.22 Excessive use of the whip is prohibited under racing rules and is punishable by the stewards with penalties ranging from a warning, to a ban from racing. According to the evidence of the Victoria Racing Club, in the 12 months prior to June 1989, two riders were suspended for the

use of the whip, 29 riders fined for the use of the whip, and 26 riders severely reprimanded. Nineteen riders were reprimanded and 14 cautioned.9

1.23 Contrary to the evidence of RSPCA (NSW), Mr Lloyd Lalor, Chairman of Stewards, Victoria Racing Club, denied that use of the whip was required to demonstrate that a horse was being ridden out. Mr Lalor stated that vigorous hand and heels riding would suffice.10

5

Views of the Committee

1.24 In assessing the opposing views on the use of the whip noted above, the Committee considers that it is essential to distinguish between the whip as a guide or control and the whip as an instrument of pain to make a horse run faster.

1.25 The Committee accepts the use of the whip as a guide or control. The whip or crop is necessary to provide the rider or driver with an additional aid to controlling the horse. The elimination of the "guide" could possibly contribute to accidents, threatening horses with injury or even death. Therefore, the Committee does not support a total ban on the use of the whip in thoroughbred racing.

1.26 The Committee, however, cannot condone the use of the whip to inflict pain on a horse for no other purpose than to make the horse run faster in what is essentially a sporting event. Competent riding of a horse using only hands and heels to urge the horse on should provide just as an exciting race and may also encourage more emphasis on improving

horsemanship. The Committee would like to see the use of whips as a means of making a horse run faster eliminated from horse racing.

1.27 The Committee received evidence on short and long term strategies to constrain the use of the whip. For example, the Committee was impressed with the views presented by Dr Heynes of the Australian Veterinary Association that changes in the use of the whip need to come about as a result of pressure from public opinion. Dr Heynes suggested in his evidence that those who are urging the banning of the whip put up prizemoney for races where use of the whip is severely restricted. Dr Heynes suggested that this could first occur on the smaller country tracks where prize money is also smaller.

1.28 The Committee considers that there may be a major difficulty with the approach suggested by Dr Heynes in that it is unlikely that animal welfare bodies, even the larger ones, would have the resources to sponsor these races on the scale that is necessary. The Committee :herefore considers that the major racing clubs could play a part in conducting whip-free races. The Committee also considers that major private companies should consider sponsoring such races.

6

1.29 The Committee also considers that shorter term reforms should be introduced to further protect the welfare of horses during racing.

1.30 Firstly, the Committee is of the view that regulations should be introduced forbidding jockeys from whipping horses that have clearly lost the opportunity to achieve a placing in any race. No horse should be whipped if it is clear that it will not achieve a place. There will obviously

be some potential for dispute for horses trailing just behind the leaders in a race, but there will be a significant number of horses in any race to which this rule should apply.

1.31 The introduction of such regulations would formalise what representatives of the Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs themselves defined as excessive use of the whip, namely:

If a rider hit a horse vigorously over a long period, or if he whipped a horse that was beaten, or whipped a horse that had no chance of getting anywhere, we would deem that to be excessive if he used it vigorously.11

1.32 Such an approach should be specifically incorporated into the relevant regulations governing the use of the whip. The current regulations as stated in the Rules approved by the Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs do not, in fact, do anything more than prohibit

in very general terms "excessive" use of the whip. The only specific provision is that the horse shall not be hit forward of the shoulder or on or about the horse's head.

1.33 Secondly, the Committee is of the view that the rules relating to the use of whips be implemented with greater diligence than in the past and that penalties should be increased. Any jockey convicted of mistreating a horse with a whip during a race should face an immediate period of

disqualification, even on first offence.

1.34 Thirdly, the Committee also considers that a restriction on the number of times a jockey can hit a horse during the course of a race should be considered.

1.35 Fourthly, the Committee considers that random inspection of horses in their stables 30-40 minutes after the race should be introduced in order to check for weals. The evidence available to the Committee from

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veterinary stewards suggests that visible weals produced on the skin of the horse by the whip are rare. It was also claimed that the discovery of any such marks would lead to a veterinary investigation. Balancing this evidence is the assertion by other witnesses that weals from whipping

might only appear half an hour or later after the race. RSPCA (Victoria) told the Committee:

We are concerned that the examination of horses that have recently left the track after racing, is not the time when the weal marks of whipping are seen. The animals concerned, or under suspicion, are not re-examined some half an hour or

forty minutes later when the animals cool down and the signs if whipping are more likely to be seen.12

1 36 The probability of weals rising later was also referred to Professor Butterfield from the Australian Equine Research Foundation. He stated:

I cannot recall having seen a horse in recent years with any weal signs of heavy whipping. I presume that no doubt weals might rise on the horses later, after they have left the mounting yard.13

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ENDNOTES

1. Evidence, Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animal Societies, p. S 8595.

2. ibid.

3. ibid.

4. ibid.

5. Evidence, Australian Equine Veterinary Association, p. 8901.

6. Submission, Victorian Bloodhorse Breeders Association, p. 3.

7. Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare, Hansard, Implications for Equine Welfare in Competitive Events other than Racing, Australian Equine Veterinary Association, 30 November 1990, p. 33.

8. Evidence, Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs, p. 8956.

9. ibid., p. 8957.

10. ibid., p. 8962.

11. ibid., p. 8959.

12. Evidence, RSPCA, Victoria, p. 9003.

13. Evidence, Australian Equine Research Foundation, p. 9328.

9

CHAPTER 2

RACING TWO YEAR OLD HORSES

Introduction

2.1 Animal welfare organisations were also concerned that some horses are being trained and racing before they were physically fit to do so. This practice results in the retirement from racing of many horses because of injury. Specifically, RSPCA and ANZFAS considers that the majority of two year old horses are too young and physically immature to race.

2.2 All thoroughbreds have their "birthdays" on 1 August each year. Thus a horse foaled in December will be "one" in the following August, at the age of seven months, and "two" a year later, at the age of nineteen months.

2.3 This issue is a major concern for animal welfare organisations because the racing of two year old thoroughbreds is a popular and growing part of the racing industry. For example, feature races such as the Golden Slipper attract large prize money. The racing clubs support

and promote this type of racing. The races are over shorter distances and the chances of success by either the very expensive prize yearlings of the previous year or conversely the unknown "battler" lend glamour and excitement.

2.4 Much of the discussion on indicators of physical maturity in horses concentrates on the epiphysial plates. These are cartilage structures at the end of the major bones in the leg. With maturity the plate becomes part of the bone. The closure of these plates occurs between twenty-three

and twenty-nine months. Opinions vary as to whether complete closure should be a precondition for the strenuous exercise involved in training and racing.

Views on the Racing of Two Year Olds

2.5 The Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animal Societies has called for a complete ban on two year old racing. RSPCA, however, believes that there should be tighter regulations governing such racing and that x-ray examination of the epiphysis should be a precondition for

commencement of racing.

11

2.6 According to ANZFAS, the racing of a physically immature horse increases the chances of injury due to an under-developed skeletal system. Many yearlings and two year olds have open epiphysial lines which means the shaft of the bone, the diaphysis, and the two ends of the bone, the epiphyses, have not fused. According to ANZFAS, this skeletal immaturity increases the risk of injury to the horse because the optimum strength of the bone has not been attained.

2.7 The ANZFAS submission referred to the results of a study involving more than 70,000 horses published in 'The Horses Digest1 , in which Dr George Maylin (Cornell University, USA), stated:

Two year olds fracture far more often than three year olds, the older the horse, the better his chance of survival. Outlawing the racing of young horses would significantly reduce fractures and breakdowns in a race.1

2.8 ANZFAS maintains that the large prizemoney involved in the racing industry pressures trainers and owners to have a horse competing as quickly as possible. The animal's readiness for such arduous exercise may not be properly considered. Two year old horses therefore face a greater and an unacceptable risk of physical injury as undue stress is placed on developing bones and cartilage. According to ANZFAS such

stress can lead to arthritis and other ailments.

2.9 According to ANZFAS' submission:

The decision to break the horse in may be a decision to break the horse down. Most well-muscled, well grown yearlings are skeletally immature, resulting in a horse where the flesh (muscle) is willing but the skeleton is weak

(immature bones, ligaments, and connective tissue). Many horses skeletally are not mature until 4.5 years of age ... Horses with closed epiphysial lines, taking other factors into account, are ready to be broken, educated and raced ... Horses with epiphysial lines should be spelled; otherwise the stresses of breaking-in and education could cause epiphysitis, shin soreness, splints, fractures, poor development and chronic lameness.2

12

2.10 On these matters, the submission of RSPCA (NSW) lodged with the Committee stated:

Enormous pressures, related entirely to financial investment and return, are placed upon the industry to produce animals of potential racing ability which enter training at a younger and younger age. This obviously produces serious and often

permanent damage. These injuries range from fractures involving sesamoids and epiphysial plates through periostitis, bursitis and low grade degenerative changes within joints.3

2.11 This view was also supported by RSPCA (Vic) in its evidence to the Committee.4

2.12 The Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs, and particularly Dr J. Bourke, Chief Veterinary Steward of the Victoria Racing Club, stated that closure of the plates is not a sure indicator of maturity. The Australian Equine Veterinary Association also maintains that some strain on the horse in training actually encourages closure of the plates

and skeletal development generally.

2.13 Dr Bourke prefaced his views on the question of the racing of two year olds with the following statement:

Racing, like any form of vigorous athletic activity in any species - be it man, or greyhounds or standard breeds - is associated with wear and tear. We must accept that.5

2.14 Dr Bourke went on to describe two research projects which he had conducted which failed to demonstrate any clear correlation between rate of injury, termination of racing career and age at commencement of racing. Dr Bourke carried out a study on the matter in the 1960s with a

Dr Mason from the Veterinary School in Werribee. The study involved 100 two year olds. Epiphysis were x-rayed and the horses classified according to the extent to which the epiphysis was open or closed. The horses were then monitored over the next few years to see how they

fared. Dr Bourke referred the Committee to two major findings from the study:

When those horses that commenced hard training and racing with distal radial epiphysis open were compared with the

13

intermediate and the closed ones, there was an increased incidence of a condition called carpitis.6 On the other hand, at the end of the two-year-old racing season, a greater percentage of the horses that had started racing with an open epiphyses were sound than of the horses that had raced with intermediate and closed epiphyses.7

2.15 His conclusion was that "the results were equivocal."8

2.16 Dr Bourke told the Committee that in subsequent years he studied the racing histories of larger groups of two year olds. For example, he compared groups of horses that had commenced racing as two year olds and others that started as three year olds. He added:

I was unable to demonstrate any significant difference whatsoever in the length of racing careers of horses that commenced at racing at two, commenced racing at three, commenced racing as early two-year-olds, commenced racing as late two-year-olds.9

2.17 Dr Bourke also explained the results of a study he carried out on two year olds that had started racing early in Adelaide and then went on to race in Victoria. He told the Committee that his research indicated that there " was no difference whatsoever in the average length of racing life."

He told the Committee:

Under Australian conditions, the average male horse, or the average gelding, in particular, races for between three and four seasons. The average female horse races between two and three seasons.10

2.18 The Committee notes, and considers significant the evidence provided by the Australian Equine Veterinary Association (AEVA) on this question. The A EVA submission, as well as evidence from Dr Basset, referred to Dr Bourke's research and expressed general agreement with its conclusions. However, Dr Basset registered concern about horses being wasted before they begin racing. Dr Basset told the Committee:

It is a problem. Keeping a horse is a costly matter, so people want to get a return as soon as they can. And they want to see their horse performing as soon as it can. So there is

14

pressure on those horses beyond the track and being trained. A lot of them do not even get to the racetrack. Problems occur during training.11

2.19 According to Dr Basset, some two year olds are "quite mature enough to race", but others are not. He recommended that horses be x- rayed so that the epiphysial plates can be examined. There should be a check on whether calcification has occurred at the growing plates in the

bones of the horse. This would indicate that "the horse's skeletal structure is mature".12 Dr Basset thought that blood tests and examination for degeneration of joint fluids were also useful ways on checking on the condition of the horse,

2.20 Dr Basset stated that trainers should be educated to be able to ascertain the "maturity1 of the horse as well as be able to identify the early signs of wear and tear being caused by immaturity.

2.21 The theme of education figured prominently in the arguments of the Australian Equine Veterinary Association. While supporting the continuation of two year old races, the AEVA submission stated:

This Association believes that the veterinary profession and the Race Clubs have a leadership role to play in reducing the wastage that does occur in stress injuries. Education and research are necessary to remove any doubts about this

popular facet [two year old racing] of the racing industry.13

2.22 The Australian Equine Veterinary Association's submission went on to outline the main themes for any educational program for trainers of two year olds:

The education of trainers involved in racing two year old horses should emphasise the development of bone and tendon, and the effects that load and speed have on these structures. The young equine athlete can cope with a load

[jockey] on its back at slow speed without damage resulting but as the speed under load increases plastic deformity can occur. The trainer who is aware of the possible changes can

prevent damage by stressing without ever straining the young horse. This is achieved by careful observation and having veterinary surgeons carry out tests ... The mistaken belief that

15

the bigger the horse the better the horse has led breeders and trainers to force feed their young charges high protein and energy diets to encourage growth. Recent research has proved that this can cause unbalanced skeletal growth and actual deformity. Further education and research on the topics of feeding the growing horse must be encouraged to ensure the welfare of the two year old racehorse.14

2.23 Reflecting their different views on the severity of the problem, the major animal welfare organisations recommended different measures to safeguard the welfare of two year old horses. RSPCA (NSW) recommended:

Veterinary certification be required as to the closure of the epiphysial growth plates before training of the animal commences.15

2.24 When asked whether the racing of two year old races should be banned, Dr Wirth of RSPCA (Vic) answered:

I think that there should be some scheme whereby the horses that are allowed to race at about that age are certified fit to do so. I think the veterinary profession is quite capable of doing so. ... certifying that they [the horses] are mature.16

2.25 ANZFAS, however, takes a different approach. The Federation recommends that the racing of two year old horses should be immediately banned. It also maintains that the horse's readiness to commence training should be determined according to its physical maturity, as determined by veterinary examination including the use of X- ray and having regard to the degree of closure of the epiphysial line. Such examination should not be conducted prior to the horse reaching the full term of 3 years of age.17

Conclusions

2.26 The Committee considers that the welfare of racing two year olds would be improved by requiring veterinary certification of maturity.

2.27 The Committee recognised that the readiness of any individual horse for racing cannot necessarily be determined simply through an

16

examination of the epiphysial plates. Nevertheless, the Committee considers that this and other procedures will enable a more reliable assessment of a horse's readiness for racing.

17

ENDNOTES

1. Evidence, Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animal Societies, p. S 8589, quoting G. Maylin, Animals Agenda', The Horses Digest, 1988, p. 15.

2. Evidence, Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animal Societies, pp. S 8589-90, quoting T.J. Hancroft, 1979, p. 60.

3. Evidence, RSPCA New South Wales, pp. S 8199-200.

4. Evidence, RSPCA Victoria, p. 9007.

5. Evidence, Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs, p. 8967.

6. ibid.

7. ibid., p. 8968.

8. ibid.

9. ibid.

10. ibid., p. 8969.

11. Evidence, Australian Equine Veterinary Association, p. 8919-20.

12. ibid.

13. Evidence, Australian Equine Veterinary Association, p. S 8312.

14. ibid., p. S 8313.

15. Evidence, RSPCA New South Wales, p. S 8194.

16. Evidence, RSPCA Victoria, p. 9007-8.

17. Evidence, Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animal Societies, p. S 8590.

18

CHAPTER 3

JUMP RACING

Introduction

3.1 Considerable concern was expressed to the Committee by RSPCA and ANZFAS regarding races involving horses jumping over steeples or hurdles. The objection to jump racing is that its fatality and injury rates are unacceptably high.

Opposition to Jump Racing

3.2 RSPCA (NSW) is opposed to jump racing. The Society observed:

The high incidence of injuries to horses engaged in this type of racing, underlines RSPCA policy of complete opposition to steeplechase and hurdle racing.1

3.3 RSPCA (NSW) calls for the immediate banning of jump racing. In Victoria and Tasmania, where the industry is most developed it recommends that jump racing to be phased out over three years. RSPCA (Vic) takes the same stance and has, in fact, incorporated its objections

to jump racing into its charter.2

3.4 RSPCA (Vic) conceded that several improvements have been made to jump racing. These improvements have included changing the height of jumps, the style of jumps, the placing of jumps, the training of horses and the training of jockeys. According to the Society the incident rate has

remained constant despite these changes.

3.5 The banning of jump racing was also recommended by ANZFAS. According to ANZFAS:

The most dangerous form of horse racing is jump racing and the statistics on injuries and fatalities in such races continue to provide evidence of this.3

3.6 ANZFAS summarised its views on the inherent problems associated with jump racing. The Federation states:

19

The combination of fatigue, pre-existing injury, speed, jumping under pressure and errors of judgment by both horse and jockey contribute to the higher risk of injury and death to the horse in a jump race than in other forms of horseracing. The horse, when racing in a jump race, is confronted with the task of galloping at full speed and being forced to clear

obstacles of considerable height whilst being surrounded by an excited group of other horses attempting the same. To avoid injury or death the horse must clear each obstacle with an accuracy that is difficult when galloping at high speed. Overtaking at the jump can precipitate a potentially fatal situation if one or more horses fall, thereby obstructing the

path of those following.4

3.7 An additional factor that RSPCA (NSW) presented was that jump racing in Australia is more amateurish than flat racing or trotting. This is a reflection of the size of the industry. The Society explained:

The industry is hardly self-sustaining: the prize money is not large enough for the number of animals in training, and the number of people who are adequate trainers of these animals is not large enough to sustain an industry, so you will tend to find that amateur trainers, amateur riders and so forth,

become involved in this type of industry.5

3.8 Other factors were identified as contributing to accident rates. These included the heavier weight of riders and the use of failed flat race horses. Representatives of the jumping race fraternity do not accept this argument. They argue that an unsuccessful flat race horse that is converted to jumping is not by definition an inadequate race horse. As a result of breeding and conformation, the horse may simply be better suited to the longer distances and the slower pace of jump racing. This view is not shared by some racing commentators. For example, the

Committee notes the foliowing comment in the Herald-Sun, on 14 February, 1991 concerning the running of the horse Rising Fear in a maiden hurdle event at Seymour:

Rising Fear is rising nine. In all his years of racing, including several Melbourne Cups, he has been the racing battler's hero. After 114 starts, he has won more than $500,000 in prizemoney. Basically he has been as sound as a bell and

20

that's why he is now running in maiden hurdles - and being beaten. Hurdle racing and steeplechasing are the most disgusting of animal sports in this part of the world. To see a horse like Rising Fear who has done nothing but his best all

his life, including a second to AtTalaq in the Melbourne Cup, then put over the fences with "featherweights" like 66.5kg on his back is the pits. ... And while Rising Fear is the subject of this article, I speak for all horses who are pushed over the

obstacles carrying heavy weights over long distances and being subjected to such unsportsmanlike tactics as half- lengthing, a jockey's method of making his opposition jump

too soon, thus bringing the other horse down.

3.9 The Committee was further concerned about fatalities at Oakbank in South Australia. Information supplied to the Committee indicates that three horses died during trials and races over the recent Easter season on the Oakbank track. It was also suggested that fifteen horses have died

on this particular track in jump races over the last fifteen years. This year two horses, Nicanpa and Tiger Trap, had to be destroyed after falls at two separate steeples.6

Support for Jump Racing

3.10 While acknowledging that the number of fatalities is higher in jump racing than in flat racing, the Australian Conference of Principal Race Clubs insist that it is a legitimate sport. Dr Bourke, the Chief Veterinary Steward from the VRC, restated his view that injuries can occur in "any form of vigorous athletic activity."7

3.11 Mr McAlpine of the Australian Bloodhorse Breeders Association also defended jump racing. He stated:

I would have to say to you that there is no difference in a horse being trained for the flat, as far as being looked after and as far as being conditioned, as a horse being trained for a hurdle race.8

3.12 Mr McAlpine did not seem to be aware, however, that there was a higher rate of loss of horses in jump racing than flat racing:

21

I cannot remember. I presume there has been a horse that has been killed or had to be destroyed through a hurdle race; that happens in flat racing too.9

3.13 The most extensive defence of jump racing came from the Hunt Clubs Association of Victoria and the Australian Jumping Racing Association. These organisations claimed that the statistics being used by RSPCA misrepresents the situation regarding jump racing.

3.14 These organisations maintain that figures showing a higher fatality and accident rate in jump racing than in flat racing are erroneous. They claim that the figures supplied for flat racing for accidents are under­ estimated as they do not include horses destroyed or removed from racing following discovery of injuries a day or more after a race. They claim that there would be many such cases and that horses destroyed or sold in such circumstances would not be recorded as victims of racing accidents. In their written submission, they also argue that RSPCA has not included figures for horses destroyed in training for flat racing.

3.15 According to these organisations, the accident figures exaggerate the significance of jumping as a cause of accidents in jump racing. For example, an accident occurring as the horse leaves the barrier or a fall between hurdles should not be counted as evidence of increased risk during jump racing as such accidents could and do occur in flat racing as well.

3.16 In its submission, the Australian Equine Veterinary Association expressed the view that strictly controlled hurdling and steeple chasing is not inhumane. According to AEVA, trainers, jockeys, and horses are all required to show a suitable degree of skill and experience before they are allowed to participate at any of the various levels of competition.

Horses that lose their enthusiasm for jumping are usually identified by experienced veterinarians and stewards and have their eligibility to compete withdrawn.

3.17 AEVA registered particular concern about the lack of veterinary presence and strict professional control at some picnic meetings where jumping races are held and at some hunt club meetings where inexperienced and unsuitable horses are allowed to race over obstacles. The submission from the Association also argued that very long

steeplechase races, where falls occur due to fatigue, need careful

22

monitoring and control of the fitness and suitability of horses allowed to compete T0

Fatality and Injury Rates

3.18 The high fatality rate in jump racing was not disputed by

representatives of the jump race fraternity.

3.19 For example, Mr John Myhill, Chairman, Hunt Clubs Association of Victoria, and appearing as a witness with the Australian Jump Association observed:

I, for one would be prepared to say that 2.2 per cent of horses is not an unacceptably large total.11

Later in evidence, Mr Myhill elaborated:

The death rate ... is acceptable, and I am sorry if that offends. I think it is 2.2 per cent. That death rate tends to vary

randomly and quite considerably, both amongst flathorses and amongst jumpers. Reverting to your question, if it is 2.2, and it is something around 2.2 forever, I do not think we can

do much further about reducing that.12

3.20 The Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs' submission confirmed estimates that 1 per cent of flat racing horses are killed or destroyed as a result of racing and training accidents while the figure for

jumping horses is approximately 2 per cent.

3.21 Information supplied to the Committee indicates that in Victoria where more jump races are held than in other States, an average of 11 horses die in jump races every year. The Committee also received information indicating that the Easter Picnic jumping events at Oakbank

in South Australia kill an average of 1 horse each year.

3.22 As noted above, it was recognised by several witnesses and jump racing organisations and animal welfare groups that the fatality and injury rate could not be reduced significantly.

23

Conclusions

3.23 Based on evidence received during the inquiry, the Committee has serious concerns about the welfare of horses participating in jump races. These concerns are based on the significant probability of a horse suffering serious injury or even death as a result of participating in these events and, in particular, steeplechasing. This concern is exacerbated by evidence suggesting that, even with improvements to the height and placing of jumps, training and education the fatality rate would remain constant. The Committee, therefore, can only conclude that there is an inherent conflict between these activities and animal welfare. Accordingly, the Committee is of the view that relevant State Governments should

phase out jump racing over the next three years.

Reservation

3.24 Senators Brownhill, Calvert and Cooney share the Committee's concern about the fatality rate in jump racing. The Senators, however, consider that improvements to jump racing facilities and practices will alleviate many animal welfare problems. Changes should include the

bandaging of legs, improvements to jump height, placement and the material used in jumps as well as better training and preparation of horses and jockeys.

24

ENDNOTES

1. Evidence, RSPCA New South Wales, p. S 8202.

2. Evidence, RSPCA Victoria, pp. S 8496-7.

3. Evidence, Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animal Societies, p. S 8593.

4. ibid.

5. Evidence, RSPCA New South Wales, p. 8844.

6. The Advertiser, 30 March 1991.

7. Evidence, Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs, p. 8983.

8. Evidence, Australian Bloodhorse Breeders Association, p. 8863.

9. ibid., p. 8864.

10. Evidence, Australian Equine Veterinary Association, p. S 8314.

11. Evidence, Australian Jumping Racing Association, p. 9211.

12. ibid., p. 9215.

25

CHAPTER 4

DRUGS

Concerns about Drug Use in Racing

4.1 All witnesses and submittors shared concerns over the misuse of drugs in horse racing. The Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs in its submission stated:

Determination by the Principal Clubs to eliminate dishonest and unsavoury practices has immediate relevance to the welfare of horses and the image of racing. Probably in horse racing more than any other sport there is a need to control

effectively the use of drugs which can effect performance. Racing authorities accept some responsibility for preserving the health and well being of the competitors. The

indiscriminate and uncontrollable use of drugs in racing animals is not in the best interests of the horses concerned.'

4.2 Representatives of the Conference advised the Committee that samples from racehorses are taken at random on the track prior to racing.

4.3 Accordingly, no thoroughbred can race in Australia free from the risk of being tested for drugs.2

4.4 Penalties for offences involving use of drugs are severe.3 Rule 177 of the Australian Rules of Racing provides the disqualification from a race of any horse if any prohibited substance is found to have been administered to it. The Rules also defines the terms drug or prohibited

substance. Presently the Australian Rules of Racing define a prohibited substance as:

Any substance having a direct or an indirect action on the central or peripheral nervous system, the cardio-vascular system, the respiratory system, the alimentary digestive system, the musculo-skeletal system, or the uro-genita system

of a horse. Prohibited substances include analgesics, anti­ histamines, anti-inflammatory agents, blood coagulants, diuretics, hormones and their synthetic counterparts, cortico­

27

steroids, anabolic steroids, local anaesthetics, muscle relaxants, and tranquillisers. Prohibited substances also include vitamins administered by injection.4

4.5 In its submission, ANZFAS identified several prohibited substances used in the racing industry. For example, Phenylbutazone is used to allow a horse to race with an injured limb. This drug is used to treat

sprains, painful muscle and soft tissue injury and arthritis. Its analgesic affect is through its anti-inflammatory action. In providing temporary relief to a painful condition, Phenylbutazone enables the horse to race on an unsound limb, placing added stress on the affected region and possibly exacerbating the condition. A more serious breakdown may then occur.

4.6 Another example is basic (Furosemide) a diuretic drug used commonly in America for horses prone to bleeding. This drug is also a prohibited substance used in the industry with potentially adverse side- effects for the horse.

4.7 Dr Pascoe, a member of the Australian Horse Council, expressed his strong views on the use of prohibited drugs to the Committee. He stated:

We have bodies like the AJC and QTC and the regulatory bodies, which are ... determined, and I hope successfully so, to counter this [attempts to expand use of drugs] by

improved methods of detection and by detection of substances that we do not know about yet.

4.8 In its submission, the Australian Equine Veterinary Association, stated that "on ethical and welfare grounds, we totally abhor the use of any chemical substance administered to directly affect a horse's

performance or to suppress symptoms of pain during a race."6

4.9 A similar view was presented by RSPCA (NSW) when it advised the Committee:

RSPCA ... is firmly opposed to the use of any drug which is unnecessary and which will alter the animal's normal physiology and performance to the detriment of its health and welfare '

28

4.10 Other major animal welfare organisation, including ANZFAS, also oppose the use of any substance which may have an adverse affect on the welfare of the animal.

Drug Detection

4.11 In 1989, the Committee was advised of several developments relating to drug detection. The Committee was assured that every effort is being made to introduce new technologies and procedures to combat the use of prohibited drugs.

4.12 Dr Bourke, the Veterinary Steward of the Victoria Racing Club stated:

The standard of equipment and expertise available in racing chemistry laboratories now in favour in four States of Australia is considerable. The laboratories will shortly have, if they do not have already, the capability of dealing with any potential

problem.8

4.13 Dr Basset of the Australian Veterinary Association also agreed that advances have been made in testing for drugs. He also told the Committee of new laboratories in Sydney, Victoria and Queensland and commented that "on this side of things we were on a plateau for a while,

but we are now on the upgrade".9 The Committee's inspection of drug testing facilities at Sandown in 1990 confirms that significant advances have been made and highly sensitive detection procedures developed.

4.14 Evidence suggests that the extent of testing at racetracks is also adequate, at least at city race tracks. According to Dr Bourke, five horses in each race are tested before they race. Winners, as well as other horses, are tested at the completion of the race. He estimated that about

a third of horses undergo some form of testing.

4.15 It appears that testing is not as extensive at some country race tracks. Dr Bourke explained:

At TAB meetings, usually two or three horses - almost invariably winning horses; at non-TAB meetings, one or two horses. In addition to that, we have testing at 12 country fixtures a year.10

29

4.16 The Committee was told that routine drug tests check for stimulants, depressants, local anaesthetics, pain-killing drugs and some hormones.11 Dr Bourke explained that the range of drugs being tested has expanded and that attention is being paid to anti-inflammatory drugs.12 Results from pre-race testing are available within the hour.

Post-race screening is much more extensive and takes about seven days to obtain results.

Use of Drugs During Training

4.17 The Committee was concerned to receive evidence that drugs are misused on horses during training sessions. In particular, the Committee heard evidence from the Australian Equine Veterinary Association that:

It is not unusual to come across a situation is some stables where a horse has had an entire range of the medicine cabinet, which has been got under the counter somewhere. When nothing else has worked people have got us in. But there are needle marks and it is incredible the supplies some

people have.14

4.18 According to the evidence the Committee received, it is easy to obtain prescription veterinary drugs "under the counter". The Committee was also concerned by suggestions from Dr Basset and Dr Heynes of the AEVA that this is a widespread problem.

4.19 AEVA stressed the need to educate trainers. While acknowledging that there are trainers who have developed considerable knowledge of "the horse's locomotion, why horses get injured and the signs of immaturity in a horse", AEVA expressed the view that "there are also a lot of trainers who start off with very little knowledge and finish up with very

little knowledge."15

Conclusions

4.20 The Committee is opposed to the use of any prohibited substance in racing. It is also opposed to the use of prescription veterinary drugs by unqualified personnel. The Committee welcomes recent advances in

drug detection and encourages all racing bodies to ensure that racing of all kinds is drug-free.

30

4.21 The Committee has three main concerns regarding this aspect of horse welfare in the racing industry. Firstly, it considers that it is essential that research into race chemistry be extended in order to counter the introduction of new chemicals and drugs. The Committee is therefore of the very strong belief that allocation of TAB levies to research should be

maintained.

4.22 Secondly, the Committee is of the view that pre and post race testing at country events should be increased.

4.23 Thirdly, the Committee considers that heavy penalties ranging from substantial fines to life bans should be imposed on those responsible for the administration of prohibited substances.

31

ENDNOTES

1. Evidence, Conference of Principal Racing Clubs, pp. S 8365-6.

2. ibid., p. S 8368.

3. ibid., p. 8369.

4. Victoria Racing Club, Rules o f Racing and Rules Melbourne, 1988, p. 8. o f Betting,

5. Evidence, Australian Horse Council, p. 8874.

6. Evidence, Australian Equine Veterinary Association, p. S 8315.

7. Evidence, RSPCA New South Wales, p. S 8201.

8. Evidence, Victoria Racing Club, p. 8989.

9. Evidence, Australian Equine Veterinary Association, p. 8910.

10. Evidence, Victoria Racing Club, p. 8987.

11. ibid., p. 8986.

12. ibid., p. 8987.

13. ibid., p. 8988.

14. Evidence, Australian Equine Veterinary Association, p. 8910.

15. ibid., p. 8911.

32

CHAPTER 5

OTHER ANIMAL WELFARE CONCERNS

Introduction

5.1 The previous chapters of this report deal with welfare problems related to specific racing industry practices. This chapter reviews more general welfare problems, in horse, harness and greyhound racing.

Specific Animal Welfare Concerns - Horse Racing

5.2 The Committee received evidence from ANZFAS concerning the prevalence of lameness and Exercise-induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage (EIPH) amongst race-horses. As these are clearly issues affecting animal welfare, the Committee reviews the concerns presented to it during the

inquiry. In this section, the Committee also reviews evidence on abuse and cruelty to horses.

Lameness

5.3 According to ANZFAS, lameness is a problem that affects a large percentage of racehorses. ANZFAS refers to a number of veterinary sources. According to these sources, great stress is placed on the limbs of a racehorse. Bone fractures of the carpus are common in

thoroughbred and standardbred racehorses. The cause of these fractures relates to factors such as extreme speed, faulty conformation of the horse, fatigue, immaturity, poor conditioning, poor shoeing and inconsistent track conditions.1

5.4 Several references to scientific literature were provided to illustrate ANZFAS' concern regarding lameness:

An epidemiological study of wastage among racehorses was conducted in 1982 and 1983 among six stables, five of which were in Newmarket [UK]. The basis of the survey was the inability of horses to take part in a cantering exercise as a

result of injury or disease. The greatest number of days lost to training was caused by lameness (67.6%) and respiratory problems (20.5%). Conditions of the foot (19%), muscle (18%) carpus (14%) fetlock joints (14%) tendons (10%) and sore

33

shins (9%) were the major reasons for training days being lost in 198 cases in which a positive diagnosis of the site of lameness was made. The results confirm a previous

investigation suggesting that the diagnosis, therapy and prophylaxis of lameness merit a high priority in research efforts to reduce wastage among young racehorses.2

5.5 ANZFAS also referred to a study conducted in Australia by Dr Bourke in 1985.3 In this study, Dr Bourke concluded that lameness was responsible for the greatest number of racing days lost by 461 horses scratched for veterinary reasons in 1983/84. Dr Bourke's study also indicated that "some 20% of these lame horses appear to have been lost to racing".4

5.6 Addressing possible reasons for this incidence of lameness, ANZFAS referred to another study prepared by Dr Bourke entitled Wastage o f Racehorses Through Lameness in Victoria 1983/84. In this study, Dr Bourke recognised a correlation between racetrack surface and the incidence of post-race lameness:

As far as shin soreness is concerned, there is definitely a racing surface or a training surface correlation with incidence. It is higher in the drier months when tracks are hard.5

5.7 The Committee notes that several witnesses recognised the problems associated with lameness of horses in the racing industry. Given the incidence of this condition, the Committee considers that priority should be given to research into lameness in order to reduce wastage among racehorses.

Exercise-induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage (EIPH)

5.8 Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage is characterised by the presence of blood in the trachea-bronchial tree following periods of competitive exercise. Studies have shown that the number of horses suffering from EIPH is significantly greater than the number reported with epistaxis (bleeding from the nose).

5.9 ANZFAS expressed its concern that many cases of EIPH go undetected because horses are checked for bleeding in the nose but not in the lungs.

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5.10 Data provided to the Committee corroborated ANZFAS1 concerns regarding the incidence of bleeding in the lungs.

5.11 The Committee notes that the Australian Rules of Racing have strict provisions regarding the racing of "bleeders". The rules provide that these horses should not be trained, exercised or galloped on any racecourse

for a period of two months. The Rules also provide that horses should not start in any race for a period of three months, and then only after a satisfactory gallop of at least 1,000 metres in the presence of a steward. Furthermore, if a horse suffers more than one attack of bleeding, the

horse is ineligible to start in any race.

5.12 While the regulations for bleeding from the nose are strict, horses suffering from EIPH without a show of blood at the nose will likely not be detected. ANZFAS expressed its concern that cases of undetected EIPH will cause an unacceptable level of discomfort or suffering to affected

horses.

5.13 The Committee considers that a major research priority should be to investigate the prevalence of undetected EIPH in Australia and methods to reduce it.

Abuse and Cruelty

5.14 RSPCA (NSW) drew attention to occurrences of "gross neglect" of horses within the industry. They provided the Committee with several examples. These included:

• Nine thoroughbreds stabled in close proximity to Canterbury racecourse. These animals had not been removed from their stalls for a period of some four years, were in fat to grossly overweight condition, had appalling hoof problems including

laminitis, hoof abscesses, dropped soles, mild to severe clubbing of the hooves, pedal bone rotation and general deformity associated with lack of care, no exercise, poor hygiene and grossly contaminated bedding.

• Two purported "thoroughbred studs" in the outer Sydney area where animals were allowed to starve to death because cash was not available for feed.

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• Two examples of very poor management during spelling:

(a) Two thoroughbred geldings near death on owners property - no provision of food.

(b) Two thoroughbreds under care of Canterbury trainer - failure to provide veterinary treatment or adequate feed.6

5.15 The Society commented that while the majority of thoroughbreds are well-managed and well fed, gross neglect does occur with the full knowledge of the racing community, that usually takes no action.

5.16 RSPCA (NSW) also provided evidence documenting the use of barbed wire reins and other goads which could only be described as instruments of cruelty.

5.17 The anecdotal evidence supplied by RSPCA does not allow the Committee to come to a conclusion about the extent of such abuses. Nevertheless, the Committee is convinced that such abuses occur and that they should be condemned. Every effort should be made to rid the industry of such cruel practices.

Specific Animal Welfare Concerns - Greyhound Racing

5.18 Several issues emerged concerning greyhound racing. However, one issue predominated. This relates to the use of live animals as lures in the training of greyhounds. Other concerns raised by the Australian Veterinary Association are also reviewed briefly.

Use of Live Lures

5.19 The major welfare concern is the use of live lures. This practice involves tying rabbits and other small animals to the mechanical lure at training tracks. The dogs chase the lure which is slowed down to allow the dogs to catch the lure and kill the live animal tied to it. The theory

behind this practice is that a racing dog having been blooded in this way, becomes a keener chaser of the lure during competitive events.

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5.20 Welfare organisations and greyhound racing authorities agree that live baiting is unacceptable. Disagreement does arise, however, over the question of how prevalent is the practice.

5.21 Dr David Butcher from RSPCA (NSW) told the Committee that the use of live lures is extremely widespread. When appearing before the Committee in 1989, Dr Butcher informed the Committee that seven prosecutions on the use of live lures were pending. He indicated that

these prosecutions were instituted by the RSPCA in New South Wales. He questioned the surveillance of these practices by racing authorities in the following terms:

It is interesting to note that even the police detect this type of thing but the Greyhound Racing Control Board, with 12 inspectors, has never, to its knowledge, detected this type of activity in all of its operations. That is one of the things we

find completely and utterly stunning.7

5.22 Mr Gavin Fitzpatrick, appearing before the Committee representing the National Coursing Association of Victoria, responded to these criticisms in the following terms:

I do not believe it is anywhere near as prevalent as is made out by the RSPCA. I heard today that it is supposed to have got 13 convictions in the last five years in Victoria; I honestly cannot believe that. There may have been 13 prosecutions.

I doubt whether there would be in fact be 13 convictions.

5.23 Dr Craig Danalis, Chairman of the Greyhound Racing Control Board of Queensland, also expressed the view that the use of live lures was exaggerated, in fact, "it is very low".

5.24 Dr Danalis compared allegations about the use of live lures with allegations about the prevalence of cock-fighting and bull-terrier fighting:

You see, we have to live with the fact that every year the matter of cock fighting is always brought up once again, as well as pit bull-terrier fighting and blooding of greyhounds. In 25 years of veterinary practice, I have never seen a cockfight

or the results thereof - the torn up chooks that are supposed to be around. ... I have looked around but I have never been

37

able to find out about this business of pit bull-terrier fighting. But I tell you that there are certain organisations that will tell you it is everywhere; in 25 years I have not been able to find one venue or the result of it.9

5.25 On the basis of the evidence presented on this matter, the Committee cannot reach a firm conclusion on the extent of the use of live animals as lures. However, the Committee is left with a definite impression that it is occurring on more than an occasional basis.

5.26 The Committee sees the use of live animals for blooding greyhounds as essentially a straightforward matter of cruelty towards animals. No arguments can or have been put forward to defend the use of live lures. Allowing live animals to be torn apart by greyhounds is a manifest act of cruelty towards animals and should not happen. The Committee is of the view that the greyhound industry must take a more positive role to prevent the use of live lures.

5.27 The Committee supports the view of RSPCA on the need for stiffer penalties for people convicted of using live animals for blooding. The Committee is of the view that people convicted of such offences,

especially repeat offenders, should be banned from participation in all aspects of the industry for a significant length of time.

Other Concerns

5.28 The Australian Veterinary Association made two specific recommendations aimed at improving animal welfare in the greyhound racing industry. These proposals are considered in the following section.

Vaccination

5.29 According to AVA, greyhounds appear to have an increased susceptibility to viral and bacterial diseases, possibly because of the stresses of training and racing. The vaccination status of animals is often unknown or poorly recorded. The Association recommended that following weaning, vaccination records, particularly for canine parvovirus

and canine distemper, should be required as part of breed registration procedures.10

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5.30 AVA also recommended the vaccination of greyhounds on an annual basis for canine distemper, canine hepatitis, canine parvovirus, and kennel cough.11 The Association also asserted that the potential for the spread of infectious organisms through race track kennels was

high. As a means to reduce the incidence of disease in the greyhound population, AVA suggested a co-ordinated immunisation program throughout the industry.

5.31 The Australian Veterinary Association also recommended that the trainers of all dogs presented at race meetings be required to produce a current vaccination certificate from a registered veterinary surgeon. AVA also argued that such measures would reduce the blackmarket in

veterinary vaccines, as well as ensure their proper storage and use.

Therapeutic Care o f Dogs

5.32 The Australian Veterinary Association commented on the emergence of "muscle men" or "muscle manipulators" who are a kind of lay, dog healer. According to AVA, these people are often responsible for giving poor and incorrect advice and administering inappropriate or

restricted substances. It was also suggested that surgical procedures are performed using physical restraint without anaesthesia. According to the Association, these lay persons are performing acts of veterinary science, and as such are contravening Veterinary Surgeons Acts.12

5.33 AVA maintains that if the existence of muscle men and muscle manipulators is to continue, they should be subject to registration or licensing.13 The Association observed that there is a need to provide more facilities to enable veterinary graduates to increase their expertise

in greyhound medicine and surgery.14

Destruction o f Animals

5.34 The Australian Veterinary Association advised the Committee that it is satisfied with the arrangements for the humane destruction of dogs at race tracks. However, a veterinary surgeon should also be present at official trials as well as competitive events in order to administer first-aid assistance.

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Specific Animal Welfare Concerns - Harness Racing

5.35 The Committee wishes to comment on two animal welfare issues that were raised in regard to the harness racing industry. These are sulky design and the use of the swish whip.

Sulky Design

5.36 The Committee received a submission from Mr Bede Ireland, a manufacturer of sulkies for the trotting industry. Mr Ireland presented a case for changing the design of the sulkies used in Australia.

5.37 Australian racing sulkies are narrower and longer than sulkies used in the rest of the world, except in New Zealand. The Australian sulky width is typically 1.2 metres compared to the international average of 1.6 metres. The sulky length is typically 3.05 to 3.2 metres, compared to the

international standard of 2.4 to 2.6 metres.

5.38 Mr Ireland maintains that dimensions of the Australian sulky make it more prone to accident. This is so, particularly because of the positioning of driver's stirrups. In Australian sulkies, the stirrups are placed below the driver's centre of gravity. If the sulky slows down suddenly, the rider is less able to restrain himself under conditions of sudden deceleration. With legs held rigid, the driver will tend to be lifted from his seat by a rapid deceleration of the sulky.

5.39 In the sulky with different dimensions, the footrest or stirrup can be located much higher. Drivers can then brace themselves more firmly as a sulky decelerates, thereby reducing the possibility of an accident.

5.40 It was suggested that the following measures would reduce accidents.

• Prohibit the manufacture or sale of sulkies less than 1.29 or more than 1.30 metres wide. That width to be measured as the maximum outside width of the undercarriage. No other part of the sulky to exceed 1.30 metres in maximum outside width.

• Prohibit the manufacture or sale of sulkies more than 2.6 metres in total length.

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• Require the use of international type footrests, that is, one that would raise the drivers feet above their present level.15

5.41 It was also suggested that any timber shafts used in a sulky should have a fail-safe point where they break so that they are unable to store crash energy. In some crashes the shafts in sulkies work to pole-vault the jockey into the air.

5.42 Representatives of the Australian Harness Racing Council were aware of Mr Ireland's arguments on this matter. However, they raised several concerns regarding the proposals to shift to shorter and wider sulkies. One concern is that most harness racing tracks in Australia are too narrow to accommodate wider sulkies. Costs involved in changing to wider tracks would be prohibitive.

5.43 Representatives of the Council also disputed whether the alleged greater number of accidents in Australian trotting are linked to sulky design. In particular, Judge Goran of the Harness Racing Council stated:

The Americans are shocked at the way we race over here. In America, they have a sort of gentlemanly-type of racing. It is not a rule, it is an agreement, but the convention is that you surrender the lead if another mans wants it, and you make

your run later on. When they come here, they find that our drivers are so competitive, the race close together. They race so closely together you wonder why they are not hitting each other all the time.

5.44 Unfortunately, the Committee was unable to pursue this matter further. Nevertheless, the Committee urges the Australian Harness Racing Council to investigate thoroughly the implications for animal welfare of changes to the design of sulkies.

Swish Whips

5.45 The trotting industry has recently shifted from the use of canes to the use of swish whips. The swish whip, made from whale bone, is very flexible, and has a flap at the end, usually made of cord.

5.46 Animal welfare organisations are as opposed to the use of the whip in trotting as well as in thoroughbred racing and advocate its abolition.

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RSPCA in both New South Wales and Victoria, however, have been prepared to accept the introduction of the swish whip into trotting. In New South Wales, RSPCA recommended that this whip should be held in the same hand that holds the sulky reins. This practice was adopted in New South Wales, but does not apply to the closing section of the race. The Committee understands that there is some concern among drivers in New South Wales that this practice restricts the control of sulkies and horses.

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ENDNOTES

1. Evidence, Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animal Societies, p. S 508584.

2. ibid., pp. S 8584-5.

3. ibid., p. S 8585.

4. ibid.

5. ibid.

6. Evidence, RSPCA New South Wales, p. S 8200.

7. ibid., p. 8826.

8. Evidence, National Coursing Association of Victoria, p. 9076.

9. Evidence, Greyhound Racing Control Board, pp. 9081-2.

10. Evidence, Australian Veterinary Association, p. S 8321.

11. ibid., p. S 8325.

12. ibid., p. S 8326.

13. ibid., p. S 8327.

14. ibid.

15. Evidence, Mr B. Ireland and Mr J. Walsh, p. S 8337.

16. Evidence, Australian Harness Racing Council, p. 9115.

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CHAPTER 6

IMPROVING ANIMAL WELFARE IN THE RACING INDUSTRY

Introduction

6.1 During the inquiry, it became apparent that the source of many problems associated with the welfare of animals involved in the racing industry is not during the running of events, but rather in preparation and

training for events. The Committee, therefore, was interested to determine how the welfare of racing animals might be improved and even safeguarded in these circumstances. In this chapter, the Committee addresses the issues of quality of training, codes of practice and policing

and enforcement of animal welfare standards.

Quality of Training

6.2 Evidence presented to the Committee suggests that the quality of handling during the training period is crucial to animal welfare. It is during this period that an animal is most likely to suffer injury or serious strain. It is also at this stage that decisions are made on the future career of a

horse or dog.

6.3 The need for proper care, training and preparation particularly in relation to horses was recognised by the Australian Veterinary Association. The Association suggested that licensing and registration within the racing industry should be more conditional upon the people

involved displaying a sufficient and continuing knowledge of, and sensitivity towards, the care and welfare of horses. The Association also suggested that trainers, stewards, jockeys and drivers require more formal education in the physiology, anatomy, locomotion and husbandry

of horses.1

6.4 In keeping with the approach adopted in previous reports on animal welfare matters, the Committee supports education and training as a means of safeguarding the welfare of animals.

6.5 The Committee considers that formal training and examination in the physiology, anatomy, locomotion and husbandry of horses should be phased in over a period of time for all trainers seeking licensing or

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registration. Similar training and examination procedures should apply to those who handle greyhounds.

6.6 The Committee is of the view that racing associations should sponsor seminars and education programs in order to promote sound animal welfare practices among those who handle animals involved in racing.

Track Design and Ergonomics

6.7 The Committee received evidence on track design and ergonomics from Mr Bede Ireland and Mr James Walsh, consulting engineers in harness racing track design.

6.8 According to Mr Ireland and Mr Walsh, bad track design plays a major role in causing horses to break down, especially the faster horses. Bad track geometry places a physical limit on how fast the horse can run so that when it tries to reach its natural speed limit, the horse can suffer various forms of strain and injury.

6.9 These injuries are caused by the need for the horse to counteract the centrifugal forces created by the horse running at speed in a circle around a central point. Just as a motor cycle racer needs to lean over to counteract such forces when turning, so too do horses lean towards the inside running rail. In the case of two horses racing at equal speed, the horse near the inside running rail leans more than the horse wider out on the track. As the horse supports its weight on the front near side foot, and is in the leaning position necessary for speed , the joints of this leg

become subject to strain.2 The joints may become strained and malaligned because the horses hoof must come down flat on the track.

6.10 The strain can be reduced on a horse travelling at high speed by increasing the slope of the track or by an increase in the radius of the track. Mr Ireland advocated track design similar to a velodrome.3

6.11 According to Mr Ireland, these principles have not been applied in the design of the majority of thoroughbred racing tracks in Australia.

6.12 The Australian Equine Veterinary Association also suggested that more attention should be paid to track design for thoroughbred racing as well as harness racing and even greyhound racing. Dr Basset stated that

46

horses were probably not taken into account enough in the designing of tracks. Dr Heynes suggested that track authorities, owners and veterinarians should co-operate to build on available injury data which

could then be used in track design.

6.13 The Committee is of the view that the racing industry, especially thoroughbred racing, should make every effort to improve the quality of track design. The Committee notes that the design of a new course at Scone, New South Wales, takes into account relevant ergonomic

principles.4 Based on discussions with leading members of the racing industry, the Committee understands that the costs involved in improving track design would not be prohibitive especially when compared with associated costs of injuries to horses.

Codes of Practice

6.14 RSPCA (NSW) and RSPCA (Vic) called for the introduction of Codes of Practice for the racing industry. RSPCA (NSW) stated:

A Code of Practice should be developed for the breeding, management, breaking, training practices and disposal of animals and that licensing of breeders, owners, trainers and jockeys be directly conditional upon the strict compliance with

its provisions.5

6.15 A similar view was presented to the Committee by the Australian Veterinary Association. For example, AVA maintains that much needs to be done to improve dissemination of available knowledge within the greyhound racing community. As one means of facilitating this, AVA

recommended the preparation and distribution of a Code of Practice covering the husbandry of the young greyhound as part of the registration system.

6.16 The Committee recognises that the racing industry advocates self­ regulation. However, evidence to the Committee suggests that the powers and authority of racing clubs in pursuing self-regulation especially outside of racing activities are limited.

6.17 The Committee considers that Codes of Practice should be developed through co-operation between the racing industry authorities,

47

the Australian Veterinary Association, animal welfare organisations and other interested parties.

6.18 The Committee is of the view that Codes of Practice would benefit the industry as these codes would clarify the industries' position on acceptable and unacceptable practices.

Policing and Enforcement of Animal Welfare

6.19 During the inquiry, the Committee gained the impression that the racing industry involvement in safeguarding animal welfare is primarily related to race day activities. Animal welfare problems originating or occurring at other times do not attract the same level of involvement and concern.

6.20 For example, the Committee understands that most cases of greyhound blooding and neglect of greyhounds are discovered by RSPCA and not greyhound racing authorities. Similarly, outright cases of

neglect or cruelty by horse owners are often discovered and prosecuted by RSPCA and not by the racing authorities.

6.21 Additionally, racing rules tend to concentrate on the administration of racing and the activities on race day. The rules do not cover in any detail animal welfare matters, especially those relating to the care, training and preparation of horses. Stewards do have the power to investigate "incidents" at official training tracks and to ban horses that have been reported as experiencing bleeding from the nose during training. However, in both cases, stewards must rely on the trainers making reports. For example, the rules prohibiting excessive use of the whip does not extend to its use during training or in stables.

6.22 The Committee is of the view that the respective racing authorities must take more responsibility for overseeing and controlling the welfare of animals involved in every facet of their industries. The Committee considers that these authorities should either enhance and extend their

role in this area, or implement alternative strategies.

6.23 For example, RSPCA plays an active role in safeguarding the basic welfare of animals involved in the industry and has considerable expertise in this area. Indeed, the Committee understands that most animal welfare concerns, including those leading to prosecution, are initiated by RSPCA.

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In order to safeguard the welfare of animals involved in all facets of the racing industry, State Governments should consider channelling a percentage of TAB revenue to RSPCA. In return, RSPCA could ensure the

highest animal welfare standards. This in turn would foster an even more professional, modern and accountable racing industry as far as animal welfare is concerned.

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ENDNOTES

1. Evidence, Australian Equine Veterinary Association, p. S 8310.

2. Evidence, Mr B. Ireland and Mr J. Walsh, pp. S 8933-34.

3. ibid., p. S 8934.

4. Sun Herald, August 18, 1991, p. 87.

5. Evidence, RSPCA New South Wales, p. S 8201.

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APPENDIX 1

FORMER MEMBERS OF THE SELECT COMMITTEE

Senator Ray Devlin, Tasmania - Member September 1987 to June 1990 - Chairman August 1989 to June 1990

Senator Jack Evans, Western Australia - Member December 1983 to June 1985

Senator George Georges, Queensland - Chairman December 1983 to June 1987

Senator Jean Hearn, Tasmania - Member December 1983 to June 1985

Senator John Morris, New South Wales - Member September 1987 to May 1990 - Chairman September 1987 to August 1989

Senator Norm Sanders, Tasmania - Member August 1985 to March 1990

Senator the Hon. Doug Scott, New South Wales - Member December 1983 to June 1985

Senator John Siddons, Victoria - Member July 1985 to August 1985

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f

APPENDIX 2

WITNESSES WHO APPEARED BEFORE THE COMMITTEE

Australian and New Zealand Federation of Animal Societies

• Dr J.H. Auty, Honorary Technical Adviser

• Ms G.K. Oogjes, Director

Australian and New Zealand Greyhound Association

• Mr G.C.L. Fitzpatrick

Australian Bloodhorse Breeders, New South Wales

• Mr D. Bay, Secretary

• Mr C.A. McAlpine, President

Australian Conference of Principal Racing Clubs

• Dr J.M. Bourke, Veterinary Surgeon, Victoria Racing Club

• Mr R. Johnson, Secretary, Victoria Racing Club

• Mr R.D. King, Manager, Flemington Racecourse, Victoria Racing Club

• Mr L.P. Lalor, Chairman of Stewards, Victoria Racing Club

• Dr J.P. McCaffrey, Veterinary Surgeon, Victoria Racing Club

53

Australian Equine Research Foundation

• Professor R.M. Butterfield, President

• Associate Professor R.J. Rose, Research Grantee

Australian Greyhound Racing Association

• Mr J. Neary, President

• Mr J.R. Stephens, Delegate

Australian Harness Racing Council

• His Honour A.J. Goran, AM, QC, Honorary Legal Adviser

• Dr E.C. Manea, President

Australian Horse Council

• Dr R.R.R. Pascoe, Honorary Secretary

Australian Jumping Racing Association Inc.

• Mr J.D. Adams, Secretary

• Mr D.R. Heather, Committee Member

• Mr R.E. Maund, Committee Member

Australian Veterinary Association, New South Wales

• Dr J.B. Smith, Honorary Secretary

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• Dr M. Heynes, Vice-President, Special Interest Group, Australian Equine Veterinary Association

• Dr C. Basset, Convenor, Racing Subcommittee, Australian Equine Veterinary Association

• Dr C.M. Boemo, President, Australian Greyhound Veterinary Association

Conroy, Mr P.E., Owner/Trainer, Devon Meadows, Victoria

Greyhound Racing Control Board of Queensland

• Dr C.D. Danalis, Chairman

Greyhound Racing Control Board of Victoria

• Mr N.J. Banks, Retired Deputy Chairman

• Mr H.L. Caruana, Assistant Secretary

Greyhound Racing Control Board of New South Wales

• Mr R.J. Cartwright, Secretary

• Mr P.J. Devery, Consultant

Harness Racing Board

• Mr P. Swann, Chief Executive

• Mr J.R. Osborne, Chairman of Stewards

• Dr W.B. Gilbo, Veterinarian

55

Hunt Clubs Association of Victoria

• Mr J.P. Myhill, Chairman

Ireland, Mr B., Civil and Structural Engineer, West Pennant Hill, New South Wales

Moller, Miss J., Owner/Trainer, Devon Meadows, Victoria

National Coursing Association of Victoria

• Mr G.C.L. Fitzpatrick, Secretary

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (Victoria)

• Mr P.J. Barber, State Director

• Dr H.J. Wirth, President

Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, New South Wales

• Dr D. Butcher, Executive Director

• Mr C.O. Meader, Senior Inspector

• Mr G.R. Pussell, Inspector

Victorian Country Racing Council

• Mr C.R. Carmichael, Chairman

• Mr J.H. Shannon, Secretary

56

Victorian Department of Sport and Recreation

• Mr P.J. Power, Director, Racing and Gaming Division

Walsh, Mr J.S., Sulky Manufacturer, Woronora, New South Wales

57