Greens MP Sue Pennicuik calls for jumps racing to be banned now once and for all

Speaking in parliament last night, Greens MP, Sue Pennicuik called on Attorney General and Racing Minister Hulls to not wait for more inevitable falls and deaths of horses and injuries to jockeys, but to move now to ban jumps racing in Victoria once and for all.

Minister Halls is reported to have said that "The death of a horse is not an acceptable by-product of jumps racing ...  and if we continue to have the number of falls and injuries, you've got to ask whether jumps racing is sustainable."  *    

"I agree," said Ms Pennicuik. "The evidence is that it is not acceptable, it is not sustainable and it is not humane. Horses are not designed for jumping. The injuries they suffer are horrific, and the footage I have seen of fallen horses is highly distressing."

"The fact is that jumps racing is dangerous for horses and jockeys. Falls and deaths are continuing to happen. There have been reviews in 1991, 1994, 1998, 2002 and 2005 promising to fix the problems.  The new safety modifications brought in after Judge Jones's review last year have not prevented falls or deaths," she said.

Shrogginet became the first victim of jumps racing of 2009 when he fell in a trial at Cranbourne racecourse. Hanging Rock died at Yarra Glen on 26 April. Twenty horses have fallen so far this year, compared to only four at the same time last year. Another two horses, Weeping Willow and Port Philip, have sustained serious injuries this year and are unlikely to race again. The fate of many horses that are injured on the racetrack and never seen again is unknown.

"In 1991 a federal senate select committee on animal welfare called for jumps racing to be phased out on the grounds of cruelty.  There have been over 250 horses killed in jumps races since that recommendation.

"Since raising this issue in parliament last night, I have heard of the deaths of two more horses, "Pride of Westbury" yesterday and "Hassle" today at Warrnambool. These deaths should never have happened and no more should be allowed to occur. Jumps racing should be banned in Victoria, just as it is banned in all other states apart from South Australia," said Ms Pennicuik.

"How many more deaths and injuries is the minister waiting to see?  

For further comment:  Sue Pennicuik – 0409 055 875

* The Age online May 5, 2009 “Hulls waits for excuse to axe jumps racing”  Andrew Eddy

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