What horses want
TRADITIONALLY, August 1 is recognised in the Southern Hemisphere as every horse’s birthday.
The big day has just passed, and to celebrate the occasion in 2017, RSPCA Australia has released a Birthday Wish List on behalf of Australian horses, using the opportunity to draw attention to several key animal welfare issues. BIRTHDAY WISH 1: NO WHIPS IN RACING
Research shows that whipping a horse does not increase the chance of a horse finishing first, second or third. In fact, 98% of horses are being whipped without it influencing the race outcome, while 9 out of 10 punters would still watch and bet on racing without whips. The RSPCA supports the introduction of hands-and-heels racing, where whips are no longer used routinely but may be carried for safety purposes where proven necessary. Top performance horses need great genetics, great preparation and great horsemanship; and whipping shouldn’t come into it. BIRTHDAY WISH 2: NO JUMPS RACING
In jumps racing, horses are subjected to a dangerous sport where they are required to jump over many fences at speed, while running long distances.
Jumps have proven to be deadly for horses and dangerous for jockeys. Jumps racing is now outlawed in most states and territories of Australia, yet sadly it continues in South Australia and Victoria. BIRTHDAY WISH 3: NO RISK OF LIVE EXPORT OF HORSES
In May, the Australian Government Department of Agriculture confirmed that it had received a number of enquiries about exporting horses, ponies and donkeys ‘in large numbers for slaughter’ and that it was developing regulations to facilitate the trade. You can add your voice to help stop this cruel trade before it starts!
BIRTHDAY WISH 4: NO CRUELTY OR NEGLECT
No animal should ever face cruelty or neglect, and horses are particularly at risk because they are large, complex animals that can be expensive to care for. In the 2015/2016 financial year, the RSPCA investigated a total of 62,714 complaints of cruelty and provided ongoing care for 485 horses. It’s everyone’s responsibility to report animal cruelty or neglect when we see it; and if you can help find a forever home for a horse currently in the RSPCA’s care, start by visiting Adoptapet.
To follow this issue, sign up to the RSPCA’s e-news at www.rspca.org.au. — Jane Speechley RSPCA Australia spokewoman
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