Jumps racing in Australia under fire again as sixth horse dies

  • Jumps racing in Victoria has suffered another blow as animal rights activists once again call for a ban on the sport after a horse died at the weekend.

    Whatsourgo was put down after breaking a shoulder at Moonee Valley in Melbourne on Saturday (20 June)

    Five-year-old Whatsourgo was the first to die since a suspension on the sport was lifted last month. And his is the sixth death this season.

    Jumps racing in the state was immediately suspended and reviewed following a spate of deaths this season, including three at the Warnambool Carnvial (5-7 May).

    But on 18 May Racing Victoria Ltd gave approval for the sport to continue.

    Stricter measures including removing the last obstacle in races, lengthening races, looking at starting procedures and having stricter qualifying conditions were proposed.

    But animal rights groups say that the changes have failed to reduce any risks and are calling for a ban.

    RSPCA Victoria president Dr Hugh Wirth said in a statement: “These horses are nothing more than sacrificial lambs being led to their deaths at the hands of Racing Victoria, the minister for racing and the Victorian premier.

    “Allowing a horse to compete in a jumps race is not in any way in the best interest of the animal’s welfare, but rather that of the almighty dollar.”

    The issue has been referred to the jumps review panel this Wednesday (24 June) and will be taken to the board meeting on 2 July.

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