'Ashamed': Bruce McAvaney speaks out over 'horrifying' racing report

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

Sporting commentator and horse racing industry figure Bruce McAvaney has declared the ABC’s expose on the treatment of retired racehorses was ‘horrifying to watch’ and called on the industry to act immediately.

The ABC’s 7:30 Report uncovered widespread slaughter of retired racehorses across NSW and Queensland, in breach of policies laid out by Racing NSW.

The report speculated horses were being slaughtered on an ‘industrial scale’ and were frequently being abused by abbatoir workers.

Aired in the lead-up to the spring racing season, the report has shaken the racing industry.

Channel 7 commentator and prominent horse racing figure Bruce McAvaney has spoken out about cruelty inflicted on retired racehorses, after an explosive report from the ABC. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

McAvaney took a break from his coverage of the Caulfield Cup and The Everest on Saturday afternoon to address the report, saying the sport’s future hinged on action being taken.

‘BROKEN-HEARTED’: Racing industry figures respond to 'appalling' allegations

“Thursday night’s ABC expose on what happens to some retired racehorses calls for immediate action,” he said.

“It was horrifying to watch. As a small time owner, it made me feel ashamed. And not to have known, is not good enough.

“The nurturing of our racehorses in retirement is just as important as the care and training given to a yearling or four-year-old champion. It’s a complex issue that must be addressed as a priority.

“Horse racing can be the very best of sports. For the sake of the future, we need to shine a spotlight on whatever might be lurking in the shadows, and take action right now.”

Jockey’s horror after seeing former mount in report

Jockey Laura Cheshire has taken to social media with a devastating reaction after seeing a horse she once rode in the ABC’s explosive report on the slaughter of retires racehorses.

A two-year ABC investigation has revealed allegations hundreds of Australian racehorses are being sent to the slaughterhouse.

The ABC says Racing Australia's official data claims around 34 horses every year end up at slaughterhouses, a figure amounting to less than one per cent of retiring racehorses.

However, the national broadcaster says a two-year investigation, culminating in a report that aired on Thursday's edition of 7.30, shows the number is much higher.

Elio Celotto from the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses told the ABC that about 4000 racehorses had been killed in one abattoir alone.

"The racing industry has hidden behind bogus studies they commissioned and data collected from a compulsory retirement form claiming that less than 0.5 per cent of racehorses are sent to slaughter," Celotto said.

"They have now been proven wrong and must own up to the fact that they have a serious welfare problem."