There is no doubt that when the racing season gets underway in Australia there is always a buzz in the media, yet what is rarely talked about and never broadcast is what life is actually like for thoroughbreds, particularly those that are “retired”. Each year, an estimated 1000 thoroughbred foals are bred to race, yet out of those 1000, only 300 end up making it to the barriers. The term used to describe this mass over-breeding is called “wastage” and is the grim reality for most thoroughbreds and standardbreds used for trots races.
They’re seen as a number, used to make money and whilst a lucky few will gain a deserved retirement after their career, most will be thanked for their efforts by being shot in the head and processed for pet food or to overseas countries as a delicacy meat.
Over 25,000 horses are slaughtered in Australia each year at knackeries and of those, 52% have been traced form their brands to be racehorses. Most race goers and punters wouldn’t know this statistic and might think differently next time they placed a bet.