horse slaughter in asia
Leading slow horses to slaughter
January 3, 2010 - 12:00AM

Leading slow horses to slaughter
January 3, 2010
THE odds are against Australian thoroughbred horses leading long, happy
While champions such as newly retired sprinter Apache Cat and Melbourne Cup
winners Might and Power and Doriemus will see out their days in pampered
comfort, thousands of nameless thoroughbreds will be slaughtered at
knackeries and abattoirs.
The less fortunate become pet or human food, hides or glue, according to the
Many of the animals will be less than seven years old (life expectancy for a
horse is 20 to 30 years). A 2008 report commissioned by the RSPCA to examine
''wastage'' of Australian thoroughbred horses found 60 per cent of the
animals processed at one abattoir originated from the racing industry.
It also found 80 per cent of the animals showed signs of neglect before
From Wednesday the Magic Millions horse sales will be held on the Gold
Coast, with more than 1200 young thoroughbreds for sale to buyers hoping to
find a champion.
''Only 300 in every 1000 [thoroughbred] foals born [in Australia] will
actually end up racing, with just a small proportion of those racehorses
proving profitable,'' RSPCA chief scientist Bidda Jones said. Many of these
animals wind up at abattoirs or knackeries rather than being retrained for
other purposes.
A lot of racehorses ''considered lazy or chicken-hearted'' by their owners
''have simply been poorly trained'' or are unsuited to sprinting, said
Andrew McLean, an honorary associate of the University of Sydney and founder
of the Australian Equine Behaviour Centre.
There were plenty of former racehorses, some of which ''were absolutely
hopeless'' on the track but have won medals at Olympic equestrian events
including dressage, cross-country and show jumping, he said.
Published studies from Europe show two-thirds of horses, including
racehorses, are sent to abattoirs for ''behavioural reasons'' and
unpublished Australian data indicates the local story is much the same, Dr
McLean said. He said that with good training techniques, 99 per cent of
horses with behavioural problems could be rehabilitated but many trainers
used ''medieval'' methods based on submission.
''I would like to see the horse industry move into the 21st century and use
effective training techniques that appeal to the way horses learn, their
mental capacity and their natural behaviours,'' he said.
With better-educated horse trainers and owners ''horses would get a better
deal'', he said.
In Australia between 30,000 and 40,000 horses are processed for human and
pet consumption annually, according to the Rural Industries Research and
Development Corporation.
Horse meat cannot be sold for human consumption in Australia but it is
exported to countries including Japan, Russia, Switzerland, Belgium and
France, according to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry.

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