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AFP
October 19, 2019

‘Industrial scale’ slaughter of Australian horses revealed

World

AFP
October 19, 2019

SYDNEY: Thousands of retired Australian racehorses are being secretly killed on an "industrial scale", with their meat shipped abroad for human and pet consumption, an investigation has revealed.

Horse racing is a popular and lucrative business in Australia, with the revelations coming on the eve of the world’s richest turf race, The Everest in Sydney, and just weeks ahead of the prestigious Melbourne Cup.

While the slaughter of racehorses is not illegal in Australia, a two-year undercover probe by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation unveiled Thursday alleged the practice was far more widespread than acknowledged.

According to the broadcaster, around 8,500 horses are retired from the track each year. The industry insists less than one percent end up in an abattoir or knackery, with some states, including New South Wales, requiring all retired racehorses be rehomed.

But Paul McGreevy, a professor of animal behaviour and welfare science at the University of Sydney who has been studying thoroughbreds for 25 years, said around 4,000 horses "disappeared" each year. "We’re talking about destroying animals on an industrial scale," he said.

"We’re seeing animals suffering. I don’t think anyone in the industry can defend this." The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses said they had been monitoring one abattoir north of Brisbane for two years and claimed it slaughtered 500 horses a month. "It’s an abattoir that kills horses for human consumption," the group’s Elio Celotto told ABC, which broadcast secretly filmed footage it alleged showed workers beating and abusing horses.

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