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QLD Government Announces Inquiry Into Racehorse Welfare After Cruelty Scandal

An urgent inquiry into the welfare of retired racehorses will be held after allegations of animal abuse aired in a TV report, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced.

Palaszczuk told the Queensland parliament on Tuesday an independent inquiry will investigate claims raised in an ABC investigation that thoroughbred horses were being mistreated then slaughtered at a Caboolture abattoir.

She said the inquiry will be overseen by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, with the support of Australian Veterinary Association representative Dr Peter Reid.

It will be headed by retired District Court Judge Terry Martin SC.

The premier told parliament the inquiry is necessary to “provide Queenslanders with confidence that the racing industry is doing everything possible to ensure the welfare of horses”.

Image: ABC

It comes after the ABC last week aired confronting footage of thoroughbred horses being killed at the Queensland abattoir.

READ MORE: Abbattoir At Centre Of Horse Slaughter Scandal Subject To Investigation

READ MORE: 'My Heart Feels Dead': Jockey Horrified On Seeing Her Former Racehorse Sent To Slaughter

The premier said she was appalled by the "disturbing, horrendous footage".

"Anyone who viewed the 7:30 program last Thursday night and witnessed the vision of retired racehorses being mistreated at a Queensland abattoir would have been sickened and appalled," Palaszczuk told parliament. 

"I want to make sure that we leave no stone unturned and ensure we do everything possible to stamp out animal cruelty."

The inquiry will look into the adequacy of regulatory and oversight arrangements for managing retired racehorses, and for the operation of facilities accepting horses for slaughter.

Palaszczuk said that will include examining how breaches of the animals’ welfare are detected, assessed, mitigated and prosecuted, compared to models in other states.

“This inquiry will determine what more we can do to determine that we have the best possible processes in place to end cruelty to animals in Queensland,” she said, adding the state has the toughest animal cruelty laws in the country.

She said a separate Biosecurity Queensland investigation into the treatment of horses at the Queensland abattoir at the centre of the ABC's report is “ongoing”.

It comes as Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said plans for a forum to look at the post-career lives of racing horses were underway before the ABC report aired.

That forum has been brought forward to Tuesday afternoon.

  • With AAP