UPDATE March 15th 2013 -- Upon investigating, PrimeSafe Victoria required procedural changes to be implemented at this facility, and have provided an assurance that changes have been made and unannounced inspections will be increased. RSPCA Victoria issued a formal warning to the operators of the facility. This awful case speaks to the much broader and systemic problem of the lack of monitoring and regulation of domestic abattoirs and knackeries. Help prevent further cruelty to horses by taking action below to demand CCTV cameras be installed in all Australian abattoirs.
December 13, 2012
Unwanted horses are being beaten, neglected and savagely slaughtered at a Victorian knackery that kills horses for pet food.
An undercover investigation by Animals Australia member society the Coalition for Protection of Racehorses has found these noble animals being disposed of like rubbish and in the most horrendous way imaginable.
The terribly cruel and sad end these horses endure will shock Australians.
Just 20 minutes from Flemington Racetrack in Melbourne, a thoroughbred mare is ushered into a 'killing box'. Her name is Nature's Child and according to Racing Victoria's website she has been 'spelling' since her last race in 2003. Hers was not an impressive career by the industry's standards — running just 10 races which brought in around $22,000 in prize money for her owners.
For the next 9 years of her life she was used to produce more horses for the racing industry but it is her final few moments that bring shame on the industry that abandoned her and that should force the closure of the knackery in Laverton that slaughtered her.
Nature's Child was shot in the head in front of her equine companion who had fearfully rushed into the 'killing box' behind his friend. While still alive, she was dragged by a tractor onto the slaughter room floor where a worker proceeded to slit her throat and cut off her tail. In another paddock, a brown stallion stands tall but looks ill. He is shot in the head — a shot that by law should render the horse dead or at least immediately unconscious — it does not. He is is hooked up to a tractor by one leg and dragged 60 metres, across gravel and concrete, into the slaughter room, where he is shot for a second time.
It isn't just the killing methods at Laverton knackery that are cause for alarm. Investigators documented horses being beaten with pieces of poly pipe; animals being transported while injured; foals, small horses and mares kept in the same un-shaded yards as stallions; sick and injured horses left untreated; and in one case a dead horse being left in the holding yard while others stood around him.
Animals Australia filed formal complaints with PrimeSafe Victoria (responsible for knackeries) and the RSPCA. We also brought this investigation to the immediate attention of Melbourne Zoo — which until now sourced horse meat from the knackery for some of the Zoo's animals. Management was horrified and immediately ceased business with the knackery and is conducting a review of all of its suppliers.
Please call on your state meat authority and on the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service (AQIS - responsible for monitoring export slaughterhouses), to establish greater accountability of slaughter practices by requiring inspectors to install and monitor CCTV cameras in all abattoirs.
(Note for ACT residents: There are no slaughterhouses in the ACT. The majority of ACT's meat supply comes from NSW slaughtering facilities, therefore your message will automatically be sent to the NSW Food Authority.)