MEDIA RELEASE: Horse racing bill introduced to ban whips, spurs, and tongue-ties in NSW

Upper House MP for the Animal Justice Party, Mark Pearson, has introduced a bill to NSW Parliament with the aim of banning the use of whips, tongue-ties and spurs in horse racing.


Mr Pearson spoke to the Racehorse Legislation Amendment (Welfare and Registration) Bill 2021 in NSW Parliament on February 17, 2020.


“The so-called sport of kings has been exposed as profiteering from the distressed and blood-soaked bodies of its victims—the innocent horses who are broken, beaten and tormented, all for the holy dollar,” Mr Pearson said in his speech, which can be viewed here.


“The time will come when the industry loses its social licence completely. Until that historic day, the bill protects the magnificent, majestic horses trapped within the industry from the worst of its practices.”


Mr Pearson also argued that the use of spurs, whips, and tongue-ties already puts owners, jockeys, and trainers at risk of prosecution for animal cruelty under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA) 1979.


He said the failure of racing authorities to act, combined with the scientific evidence of the harm caused to horses, and research which conclusively established that whipping had zero impact on race outcomes, is proof the use of whips, spurs, and tongue ties are a breach of POCTA.


POCTA states animal includes “any unreasonable, unnecessary or unjustifiable act or failure to act which results in an animal being… beaten, kicked, wounded, pinioned, mutilated, maimed, abused, tortured, terrified or infuriated …  over-loaded, over-worked, over-driven, over-ridden or over-used”.


The bill would also criminalise sending ex-racehorses to knackeries, and put in place a birth-to-death racehorse registration and rehoming scheme.


Every year in Australia, approximately one-third of racehorses are retired from racing, but there’s no record of what happens to them.


“In 2017 there were more than 30 knackeries around Australia killing horses for pet meat. There were also two abattoirs licensed to export horse meat, and they were slaughtering on average 9,000 horses per annum,” Mr Pearson said he in his speech.


“It is a busy and lucrative trade that has helped solve the problem of what to do with all those failed and retired racehorses that are not suitable for breeding.”


Mr Pearson also noted that the current chief executive of Racing NSW, Peter V’landys, did not respond to requests to meet with him while consulting with various groups about the drafting of the bill.



The bill will be listed for debate in the coming months.


Media contact:
Elena Wewer – 0428 444 132