The NSW Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Trust is a non-profit organisation that was established in 2011, and it operates in accordance with Racing NSW and their Thoroughbred Rehabilitation Program which was an initiative set up to focus the racing industry from profit, to the welfare of the retired horses or those who don’t quite make it in the racing industry. The Trust has a partnership with the corrective services at Muswellbrook, which gives the inmates a chance to work with the horses when they’ve come from racing and they learn the basics of handling the horses, as well as some natural horsemanship and ground work, which teaches both the horses and inmates mutual respect and discipline.
The trainers take on up to 20-25 horses at a time, most of which will be sold upon their arrival to the training stables at Cantebury Racecourse. The are usually up to 10 years and most have raced prior to coming into the program. They come from trainers, owners and studs and before commencing training, they are spelled in a paddock for 6 months to learn how to be horses again.
Head Trainer Scott Brodie starts the demonstration.
Scott gives a ground work demonstration with one of the newer “students”.
A ridden demonstration is then given.
We were then allowed to have a look around the stables and meet the horses in the training program.
A new horse is brought in to demonstrate some natural horsemanship.
Overall the Open Day was an excellent opportunity for both horse lovers and riders to explore the stables, learn the techniques used to retrain the ex-racehorses and an overwhelming sense of faith and relief in what the volunteers at NSW TRT are doing for these magnificent and often misjudged horses. It’s safe to say that my faith in humanity has been restored.
A sheep being dragging to it’s demise, source: Animals Australia
The news of Australian sheep being illegally sold and exporting overseas to Kuwait and Jordan has emerged, as well as shocking and deeply haunting images of brutality and sacrifice, in accordance with the 3 day Muslim “Festival of Sacrifice”.
Thousands of sheep were sold illegally overseas for the festival and were inhumanely killed in streets, backyards, roadsides and driveways while other sheep waited to be killed next to them.
There are several Australian welfare and export laws in place, to ensure that these animals will be processed in a humane way, in accordance with several Australian standards and guidelines, particularly by the ESCAS. To make sure that the slaughtered sheep were not to be traced back to their Australian graziers, their ear tags were removed upon exportation, deeming them untraceable and left to be killed with severed knives and having their necks stomped in by their purchasers.
This shocking discovery was made by the Animal’s Australia Organization, who have since pushed for an investigation into this mass animal cruelty event, through the Department of Agriculture and in accordance with The Australian Live Exporters Council (ALEC) in order to oversea the ways in which the sheep were available for purchase and exportation in the first place. The footage that was captured shows a clear breach of Australia’s laws, which ensure the protection and humane slaughter, of animals who are sold for private slaughter overseas.
This news comes after widespread investigations in June earlier this year into one of Australia’s prime exporting companies who exports livestock to Jordan, as their was a reported number of misconduct in their exporting practices, disobeying the current standards and regulations, a major cause for concern for the live export industry.
An Aussie sheep lays helpless on the ground, source: Animals Australia.com
High speeds are sometimes fatal, source: amazing greys.com.au
Allegations have arose from the greyhound racing industry that over 70 dogs were drug-tested and the results were positive to such drugs as cocaine, EPO, amphetamines and caffeine, all of which are banned and in some cases illegal drugs, both performance enhancing and recreational.
The story was aired on ABC News’ program “7:30” describing the not so glamorous life of a greyhound in the racing industry. A trainer interviewed on the program who had been in the industry for 25 years said that “there never was, and there never will be” when asked if there will ever be a level playing field. A profound trainer Mark Azzopardi had one of his major winning dogs tested positive for cocaine, and as a result was handed a 2 year ban from racing and a damaged reputation and claimed that one of his off-siders was using the drug recreationally and came into contact with the dog, saying that “It’s the only thing we could find because I sure as hell have never or don’t dope my greyhounds. My record speaks for itself.”
Similarly to the horse racing industry, there is not only problems with doping, there is a severe amount of overbreeding, with records of 17,000 greyhounds being destroyed every year, either they aren’t deemed fast enough to win, or some meet their demise at only a few weeks of age. An estimated 40% of this number will never actually race in their life, ultimately contributing to the wastage. Reports from industry insiders alleged that methods such as drowning, shooting and bludgeoning with a hammer are just some of the ways that unwanted dogs are “retired”, leaving those who are lucky enough to be euthanised. Because of the intense speed and high intensity of the racing itself, many greyhounds will become injured or even suffer cardiac arrest on the racetrack and will be put-down on site.
And whilst it seems for most race-goers that this is lively and exciting sport to bet on, the reality is rather dim, due to these factors and not everyone is willing to accept it.
The live export trade is not only hurting the sheep and cattle being sent overseas for slaughter, but the current regulations are its affecting their Australian farmers too.
Since the exposure of cruelty to animals in overseas abattoirs was exposed in a graffic video in 2011, animal welfare group “Animal’s Australia” started the movement to ban live export of livestock to Indonesia in order for the animals to be processed in a humane environment. The explicit images that were shown on ABC’s Lateline program both shocked and offended viewers when it was aired and was just the tip of the iceberg in a hefty debate involving both the welfare of the animals and the welfare of their farmers and the meat market in Australia.
In a recent interview (10th October) on ABC radio’s program PM with Western Australian farmer Digby Stretch, he described the hardships faced by his family, who runs a grazier farm with 10,000 head of sheep in southern WA. There has been a shocking loss in profits due to the strict live export market conditions and according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, “during the June quarter, sheep exports were at their fifth lowest level in 25 years.” The restrictions involved exporting livestock from Australia have left farmers being unable to gain access to the sheep and cattle markets in the Middle East and Indonesia, because of the standards and regulations that have been implemented by the ESCAS (Exporter Supply Chain Assurance System) which at this present time, will not allow for Australian farmers to sell livestock to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern Countries. The president of the WA Pastoralists and Graziers Association said that, in response to the importance of the livestock’s welfare:
“Well, the fact of the matter is that in many cases it really hasn’t got much to do with the welfare now. Saudi Arabia’s a very good market to look at. The fact is the Saudis do have their own animal welfare concerns. They may have some different ideas to the way we do it, but quite simply, ESCAS does not allow us to supply livestock into Saudi Arabia at this time.”
Since the footage of cattle and sheep being brutally slaughtered and abused in overseas abattoirs surfaced in the media, It has become apparent that the welfare of the livestock is becoming disregarded by the meat industry in Australia, and the focus has been shifted instead, to the farmers struggling to make a profit.
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.
A recent exposure by Australia’s Cleo Magazine of puppy factories selling puppies overseas to Singapore has been called the new live export scandal in Australia.
It is believed that backyard breeders and puppy mills sell their young stock to overseas markets to be placed in pet shops and their owners are making thousands from them. The are being advertised as having the best Australian bloodlines and their new buyers have no idea that they’ve spent the eight weeks of their life so far trapped in a cage, living in their own excrement’s, often with all their brothers and sisters.
The founder of the animal welfare group “Oscar’s Law”, Debra Tranter, said to CLEO Magazine that: “The entire trade is based on consumer fraud, cruelty and lies, from the Australian puppy factories, the broker, the pet shops, the online trading sites, the transport companies who send puppies in bulk weekly around Australia or to overseas pet shops.” The exploitation of these puppies is able to continue due to the very weak regulations for breeders and the industry, in particular that of the pet shop industry thrives off the cute-faced big eyed bundles of joy, shedding little or no light on what goes on for the first 8 weeks of their lives, its completely disregarded.
A similar discovery was made by Animals Australia at the Pyramid Hill puppy factory, which after a 4 month investigation by the organization was finally shut down as a result of the dogs inside the dark tin shed where they were being kept, were living in squalor and being sold to pet-shops and the like for top dollar.
A shocking 95% of all puppies in pet shops have come from puppy factories where most of the dogs have been bred in the derelict conditions, whilst their perspective buyers have no idea what their new bundle of joy has come from. 150 dogs and puppies were rescued from this puppy factory thanks to the efforts of RSPCA Victoria and Loddon Shire Council.
Over the next few weeks i’ll be using my blog to cover news – worthy stories about animal welfare topics which is something i’m quite passionate about, so i hope you enjoy them 🙂