Queensland takes decisive action against cruelty to horses

10 February 2020


Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries
The Honourable Mark Furner

Minister for Local Government, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs
The Honourable Stirling Hinchliffe

The Palaszczuk Government today endorsed all recommendations from the horseracing inquiry report and committed almost $6 million to increasing resources for animal welfare practices.

Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe and Agriculture Minister Mark Furner today responded to the report produced by the Inquiry into animal cruelty in the management of retired thoroughbred and standardbred horses in Queensland.

The Government accepted 37 recommendations in full, 17 recommendations in principle and one recommendation in part, and will provide almost $6 million to support the implementation of all 55 recommendations.

Mr Hinchliffe said placing higher standards on the industry would protect jobs.

“We want to protect animals in the industry, and we want to protect the industry itself and the employment opportunities it provides,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“Horseracing brings communities together across Queensland and more than 5000 people are directly employed because of it.

“But most importantly, Queenslanders need to be confident that retired horses are treated properly.”

Actions stemming from the recommendations mean:

  • A greater role for the racing industry in overseeing the welfare of retired racehorses;
  • Increased staffing and resourcing for Biosecurity Queensland to ensure animal welfare requirements are met; and
  • Additional funding for improved training for animal welfare inspectors and improvements in animal welfare complaints management.

Minister Furner said cruelty against horses was completely unacceptable.

“Supporting these recommendations will strengthen the industry and provide greater certainty around the welfare of retired racehorses.” Mr Furner said.

“We remain committed to a national approach to develop and implement nationally consistent standards and guidelines for livestock animal welfare.”

The Queensland racing industry will oversee a retired racehorses’ welfare program.

As part of the recommendations, about $4.7 million will go to the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries and $1.2 million to the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

Mr Hinchliffe said the Government had already placed a 1 per cent prize money levy for thoroughbred and harness racing to support an ongoing equine welfare program, including the retraining and rehoming of retired racehorses.

“That’s another $1.5 million on top of the Palaszczuk Government’s response to the inquiry recommendations,” he said.

The Government called the inquiry after the ABC’s 7.30 program reported on the treatment of horses at a Queensland abattoir.

The list of recommendations and the Government’s response can be found at daf.qld.gov.au