'My Heart Feels Dead': Jockey Horrified On Seeing Her Former Racehorse Sent To Slaughter
Jockey Laura Cheshire broke down in tears watching her former racehorse get beaten and brutally killed, in an ABC investigation into abattoir mass killings.
The racehorse, believed to be thoroughbred War's End, was filmed being beaten before being slaughtered by an abattoir worker.
Chesire, 35, rode the horse for a year and is shaken by the "disgusting" revelations on ABC's 7.30.
Speaking to 10 News First, the Queensland jockey spoke of her love for the horse that she helped rehome on a number of occasions.
"I just ended up in tears and haven't really stopped crying," Chesire said.
"This is not how things should be in our industry, this is not the way that we treat our horses ... and people seem to get them when they are finished and just throw them away," she said crying.
The covert recordings showed the man scream “f***ing stupid c***” before allegedly kicking War's End in the head after it had died.
She said there were options for War's End to go back to her or the trainer -- but many other racehorses don't have options.
"Trainers here just give them away to people who put their hands up for them because they don't have the other option of a retraining facility that would re-train these horses and actually do the best thing by them," she said.
On Thursday night, she also shared her dismay on social media about the animal cruelty.
I have failed a racehorse. My heart is so broken.
She then wrote a tribute to the dead horse.
“War's End, I tried to do the best thing for you after you were passed on and on and on. And tonight I watched you get a captive bolt to the head. My heart feels dead.”
She also encouraged her followers to make official complaints about the treatment of these horses.
“For anyone who watched the ABC footage tonight on the abhorrent treatment of racehorses in the dogger yards, I urge you to put complaints in writing to the racing Qld integrity team, on the QRIC website.
"Currently there is nothing in place in Qld to protect horses after their career has ended. NSW is TRYING!” she wrote.
RSPCA's acting CEO Dr Bidda Jones told ABC News the racing industry needs to take greater care to ensure the welfare of horses is protected.
"Not just while they are racing, but after they have left the industry," she said.
It's a sentiment echoed by The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) who are calling on the federal government to implement nationwide welfare standards and a register to protect these horses.
“As veterinarians, we found the treatment of the horses in the leaked video footage highly distressing," Dr Sam Nugent, President of the AVA’s Equine Veterinarians Australia Group said.
Nugent said the ongoing welfare of horses after their racing career is the responsibility of the horse racing industry.
"We call upon racing authorities to get stronger on enforcing welfare standards for their retired racehorses," Nugent said.
Queensland racing integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett described the footage as "disgusting" and said his organisation does not have any control or authority over public abattoirs or once a horse is retired."
Our legislative mandate is for the welfare of animals while they are involved in racing, so during their racing career," he said.
In a press conference on Friday afternoon, the state's racing minister Stirling Hinchliffe said a meeting with racing stakeholders scheduled for next month has been brought forward in light of the revelations.
"So that we as an industry and other key stakeholders can work together to make sure that we have the best possible regime here in Queensland to look after and rehome these horses," he said.
Contact the author firstname.lastname@example.org