PRESS RELEASE: Call to stop Warrnambool jumps racing Carnival

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PRESS RELEASE: By ANIMALS AUSTRALIA On APR 27, 2009

In the wake of the 4th jumps racing horse death this season, leading animal protection group Animals Australia has called on Victorian Minister for Racing Rob Hulls to intervene and call a halt to the jumps races scheduled for the ‘Warrnambool May Racing Carnival’ which commences next Tuesday (5/5).

Yesterday at Yarra Valley, jumps horse ‘Hanging Rock’ fell, broke his leg and was killed on the track. His death follows the deaths of two Victorian jumps horses (‘Taken at the Flood’ and Wool Zone’) in South Australia on Saturday, and the death of ‘Shrogginet’ at the Cranbourne Training Centre last Thursday.

Animals Australia’s Executive Director Glenys Oogjes reacted with anger to these recent deaths –

“The Brumby government can no longer ignore the carnage. Racing Victoria might be willing to turn a blind eye as the horses topple over jumps and are destroyed but the community is appalled. Nothing short of a ban is now acceptable.”

Minister Hulls must demand the cancellation of the jumps racing at Warrnambool next week to prevent further horses being injured and killed.”

The Warrnambool jumps racing track has a gruesome history with 6 jumps horses killed in the past 3 seasons alone. This year’s May Carnival includes 5 jumps races over 3 days and culminates with the Grand Annual Steeple which is over 5.5 Km with 33 jumps – the longest race in Australia, and most jumps of any jumps race in the world.

Background:
• 12 horses died at official jumps races in Victoria during the 2008 season, and another died at a trial. Horses die in jumps racing at a rate 10 – 20 times the fatality rate to starters in flat racing.
• Minister Hulls called for an inquiry into jumps racing as the death toll mounted last June.
• The final report (released in December) by former Country Court Judge David Jones recommended significant changes to jumps racing tracks, jumps and training of horses and jockeys to reduce the death rate. Similar changes had been introduced in 2002 and 2005.
• Jumps racing now only occurs in Victoria and South Australia.

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