Horse racing activists greet first day of racing with protest

August 29, 2019

Horse racing activists greet first day of racing with protest

Activist Avalua Tavui joined the protest to oppose the horse racing industry. Photo: Sae Strang.

Animal-rights protestors turned out for the first day of racing at Ellerslie as part of their campaign against the horse racing industry.

Members of the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses and Auckland Vegan Actions Activists held billboards outside the racecourse during the The Pakaranga Hunt Day event, which included a steeplechase, which involves jumps.

“Jumping races have much higher rates of injury and death. Quite often when horses get injured they get put down because to treat them is difficult,” said Aya, NZ spokesperson for the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses.

“The trainers are not going to lie down all day and wait for the horses to heal, they want to make money. They might say they might love them but why? Because they make money,” she said.

But New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) said the protesters were basing their views on false information from their Australian sister group.

The welfare of the animals is important to all those who work within the industry, said NTR spokesperson Martin Burns.

“The Australian-based Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) portrays itself as being concerned with equine welfare, yet they have been regularly caught out lying.

“Unfortunately, the small group of protesters at Ellerslie on Saturday are obtaining their information from the Australian-based CPR which has made an art-form out of stating lies as fact.”

Burns said as part of NZTR’s welfare strategy they have made amendments to the Rules of Racing to allow for better traceability of our horses from birth to death.

He said each racehorse in New Zealand has a team of people working to ensure it is happy and healthy.

“Everyone from the horse’s strapper, trainer, work rider, race day jockey, feed merchant, veterinarian, farrier, chiropractor, masseur, and so on, has just one aim, to cater to that individual horse.”

He adds that the care extends to a horse’s post-racing life, and trainers and owners work to ensure their horses find a home appropriate to their needs.

“While some former racehorses go on to second careers as show or eventing horse, others are more suited to a life of leisure as a paddock mate for younger horses.”

“The nature of horse racing is constantly changing, largely through the work undertaken by those who work alongside our horses daily,” said Burns.

Joining the protest was campaigner for Auckland Vegan Actions Avalua Tavui who wanted to highlight what is involved with horse racing and raise awareness on the issue.

“When people think about horse racing, read about it and they’re aware of it, would they want to be involved with it?

“Horse racing is a big industry. Auckland Vegan Actions doesn’t support the exploitation of animals as entertainment for sport or recreation.”

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