MEDIA RELEASE: “We can’t pretend it’s not happening here” – NSW MP calls for ban on slaughter of racehorses after reports thousands of British horses are killed in slaughterhouses

Upper House MP for the Animal Justice Party Mark Pearson has alleged Australian racehorses are already being killed at knackeries and slaughterhouses, and says news of overseas killing is a reminder of law reform needed in NSW.


In February, Mr Pearson introduced a bill to NSW Parliament that would criminalise the slaughter of ex-racehorses in slaughterhouses or knackeries, as well as mandate the re-homing and birth-to-death tracking of all racehorses.


“What is taking place in the UK and Ireland is happening here too, and it will continue to happen until it is outlawed,” Mr Pearson said.


“Every year in Australia, approximately one-third of racehorses are retired from racing, but there’s no record of what happens to them, so it’s easy to read between the lines.”


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.


“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’s comments come after the BBC reported that thousands of racehorses are being sent to slaughterhouses in Britain and Ireland.


The BBC’s Panorama investigation found some of the slaughtered animals were once owned and trained by some of the biggest names in racing, with covert recording also showing how rules designed to protect horses from a cruel death appear to be regularly ignored at one of the UK’s biggest abattoirs.


The news comes just months after Mr Pearson introduced a bill to NSW Parliament with the aim of banning the slaughter of ex-racehorses at knackeries or slaughterhouses.


“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 said in a speech to his bill on 17 February.


The bill would also criminalise the use of whips, spurs, and tongue-ties.


petition in support of the bill has over 12,000 signatures.


Media contact:
Elena Wewer – 0428 444 132