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Horses For Main Courses: Winx's Half-Brother Slaughtered For Meat In Korea

An investigation by the animal rights group People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has exposed the slaughter of Australian thoroughbred horses and their offspring in South Korea.

Disturbing footage has emerged of horses waiting to be killed at the Nonghyup abattoir on Jeju Island, a large island off the southern tip of the country, which is well known for having many horse meat restaurants.

The footage is particularly distressing as it shows horses being struck across the face and treated roughly in other ways.

Jeju Island off the southern tip of Korea, where horse meat is a delicacy. Image: Getty

PETA's investigators filmed and were able to identify 22 horses formerly used for racing, three of which were from Australia. Those three Australian horses had been purchased by Korean buyers at auctions held on the Gold Coast, before transferring to Korea.

One of them was reportedly a horse called Road To Warrior, which sold at a Magic Millions sale for $46,000, but then went on to win just one race in Korea, and was presumably not earning its keep on the track.

PETA also said that a horse fathered by the stallion Street Cry -- who sired hundreds and possibly of even thousands of horses including the great mare Winx -- was killed for meat in Korea.

So in other words, Winx's half-brother ended up in a Korean abattoir. Below is its grim final entry in the Korean studbook. It reads: "Processing of bulk meat".

Horse meat is taboo in many countries, however it is popular on Jeju Island, where a raw dish prepared from the meat of the neck is a local specialty, similar to steak tartare.

With a few exceptions, Australians generally do not eat horse meat, however we do have a horse meat export industry. The website Australianhorserescue.com says the two main abattoirs here slaughter up to 700 horses monthly for food exports to Europe and Asia.

Meanwhile, PETA argued for increased efforts to re-home former race horses.

"If the Korean Racing Association redirected just a tiny fraction of the profit it makes off the backs of these horses into retirement programmes, this would spare thousands of them a terrifying death," it said.

"The Australian racing industry can no longer sell horses to South Korea and then turn its back, knowing these animals and their offspring will end up hanging by one leg in a slaughterhouse."

You can learn more about this issue on The Project at 6:30 PM tonight on Network 10.