An urgent inquiry into the treatment of retired racehorses will be held, after vision of the animals allegedly being mistreated at a Queensland abattoir aired on the ABC last week.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told Parliament on Tuesday that an independent inquiry will be overseen by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, which is the independent watchdog charged with safeguarding the welfare of racing animals during their racing career.
The Premier said she was appalled to witness the “deeply disturbing, horrendous footage” on the 7.30pm program on Thursday.
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“I know that my Minister for Agriculture along with my Minister for Racing have spoken to many racing industry figures in the past few days and they have all been deeply concerned about the allegations of animal abuse that surfaced,” she said.
“My government stands with the many industry figures who love their racing animals and, like them, I want to make sure we leave no stone unturned to stamp out animal cruelty.”
The Premier said the inquiry is “absolutely necessary” to provide Queenslanders with peace of mind about the welfare of retired racehorses.
“This inquiry will determine what more we can do to make sure that we have the best possible processes in place to end cruelty to animals in Queensland,” she said.
Minister for Agricultural Industry Development and Fisheries Mark Furner also weighed in on the retired race horse crisis, saying Queensland would “not stand for cruelty to animals.”
“That is why Queensland has the toughest animal cruelty laws in Australia, including penalties of up to seven years’ jail for the most serious offences,” he said.
“Further to this, Biosecurity Queensland investigators visited the abattoir on Friday and their investigation is ongoing.”