Government urged to establish national horse database after welfare outcry

POSTED ON  |  29-11-2019

Istock horse
A Senate committee has recommended the federal government establish a national horse traceability register following a heated national debate about the welfare of retired racehorses. In a report tabled on Wednesday, the Senate rural and regional affairs and transport reference committee said the racing industry and broader horse industry, veterinary groups, animal welfare organisations and the farming lobby unanimously supported the proposal to create a central national database of all horses in Australia.

The racing industry repeatedly cited its support for a national traceability register in response to criticisms about the welfare of retired racehorses after the ABC released footage of racehorses being slaughtered in allegedly inhumane conditions.

If established, the committee said, abattoirs and knackeries would be required to update the register about horses going to slaughter, providing the first accurate data about the fate and welfare of retired racehorses. It recommended the establishment of a working group to design the register and coordinate the secure collation of data from existing registers like those maintained by the racing industry.

The report said the register should be designed around a core biosecurity function, which would “compel the commonwealth’s participation” and protect against devastating disease outbreaks, like the 2007 equine influenza outbreak which cost the federal government more than $130m to contain.

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