RVL back flip proves Minister Hulls must intervene to end jumps racing

Greens MP Sue Pennicuik today condemned the additional reprieve given to jumps racing in Victoria by the sport's ruling body.

"I have to say I am not surprised that Racing Victoria Ltd (RVL) has caved in to fierce lobbying from the jumps racing industry and has backtracked on its decision to end jumps racing," said Ms Pennicuik. "I had been expecting it but it is still extremely disappointing."

After a comprehensive review of the sport at the close of the 2009 season, RVL decided to abolish the sport at the end of 2010. "That was the right call even though it was allowed to continue for another year," Ms Pennicuik said.

In making its decision RVL acknowledged the inherent dangers of jumps racing citing that there had been no reduction in 'incident rates' despite the implementation of the recommendations of six major reviews over the course of several years.

Yet, and despite one of the worst seasons for horse fatalities occurring last year in 2009, RVL Chairman Michael Duffy in a stunning about face, today announced that if the industry could meet yet another raft of conditions, the sport could continue.

The 'conditions' set by RVL – a 50% reduction in deaths based on last season's terrible figures, and a cut in the rate of falls to 3% of starters are yet another futile attempt to lend this activity the appearance of safety. These 'stringent' conditions allow for 5 horse fatalities on the track each and every season, an apparently acceptable state of affairs. The deaths of other horses destroyed later because of injuries on the track through falls or overriding are not included in this figure and are unknown.

"As I have said countless times, RVL has a clear conflict of interest in this case and cannot be left with the final word on the future of jumps racing. Minister Hulls has backtracked on his support for the previous decision to end jumps racing. He must intervene to end this dangerous so-called sport."

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