Racing NSW chief executive Peter V’Landys has labelled the cruel fate of some racehorses shown on a television program as “sickening” but says it is unfair to tarnish an entire industry for the actions of a few.
A report on the ABC’s 7.30 program on Thursday said the number of thoroughbreds being slaughtered was much higher than stated and showed vision of horses being killed at an abattoir in Queensland.
V’landys was horrified by the footage but remained adamant NSW had made major inroads to protect the welfare of retired racehorses, including implementing a rule that tracks horses throughout their racing careers and retirements and bans sending horses to slaughter.
Some of the most disturbing vision was from an abattoir in Queensland and V’landys has called on the Queensland government and Department of Primary Industries to take action against the offenders.
“The vision was sickening and disturbing, what was going on in abattoirs in Queensland, and I hope the perpetrators are brought into account,” V’landys said on 2GB’s Alan Jones Breakfast Show.
V’landys felt elements of the television program were unfair, saying it tarnished an entire industry because of the actions of a few.
He also revealed Racing NSW had received hate mail in response to the program.
“The hate mail we have been receiving this morning telling us to all get cancer and die is appalling,” V’landys said.
“There are no people that look after their animals better than the thoroughbred people.
“They treat them like family and to take one or two people that do the wrong thing and portray a whole industry like that is completely unfair and unjust.”
Racing NSW was given a list of names of 14 horses by the ABC and V’landys said they identified 12 of them were last domiciled in other states or had been sold as pleasure horses, putting them outside the jurisdiction of his organisation.
He maintained 10,000 NSW racehorses had been retired in the past three years and the majority successfully re-homed.
Since 2016, Racing NSW has dedicated one per cent of all prize money, equating to about $2.5 million, to a thoroughbred welfare fund and has purchased over 2,500 acres of NSW property for its re-homing program.