One of the biggest issues regarding horse welfare in Australia at the moment is the debate over jumps racing. It is currently only taking place in Victoria and South Australia. Here are some links to resources regarding jumps racing.
- RSPCA SA “RSPCA disappointed at jumps racing vote”
- Animals Australia “Jumps horses let down by SA Parliament”
- Adelaide Now article “Lawyers claim South Australian jumps racing may breach animal welfare laws”
- City Messenger blog “No real hurdle to political agreement”
Keep an eye on the “Events” page for upcoming demonstrations and other events related to jumps racing.
Information from animal welfare organisations:
- RSPCA Australia – “RSPCA Australia is opposed to jumping races (steeplechasing and hurdling) because of the high probability of a horse suffering serious injury or even death as a result of participating in these events.” Read more on the RSPCA Knowledgebase website
- Animals Australia “Submission to State of Victoria, Members of Parliament, Dec 2008 – Jump Racing: Why It Must Be Banned, Information for Members of the Victorian Parliament” (PDF file) – “For decades, jump racing has created a major horse welfare concern due to the cruel nature of the sport. This is supported by damning statistics and media exposure that has consistently reported the unacceptable risks to horses through frequent deaths, falls and injuries. It is not surprising that jump racing was described in the Australian media in 1991 as “the most disgusting of animal sports in this part of the world”, and more recently as “horrifically cruel”. “
- Quest Equine Welfare – “Jumps Racing” – Quest have, as part of their mission to advocate for the welfare of horses and other equines, put together a thorough resource of videos, links and relevant material about jumps racing. They also have merchandise in their online store with the slogan “Jumps Racing Kills, you can bet on it”.
- RSPCA Victoria “Issues – Take Action” page on jumps racing – “Jumps racing is a small, unpopular and unprofitable aspect of the racingindustry in Australia. Jumps racing only accounts for 0.71% of turnover in racing and the amounts wagered on jumps racing are consistently lower than amounts wagered on flats. This is an extremely poor return for the amount pain and suffering endured each year on jumps racing tracks across Victoria. “
- RSPCA South Australia “Want to help us ban jumps racing in South Australia?” – “The RSPCA has been an avid campaigner against jumps racing for over three decades, quite simply because of the fatal injuries sustained by the horses that occur each and every jumps season.”
- The Humane Society International Australia “Jumps Racing” – “Jumps Racing is the deadliest form of horse racing in Australia. Now only occurring in Victoria and South Australia, this form of racing involves horses jumping metre high fences at speed. The fatigue from hurdle jumping and the length of the races results in a staggering number of deaths and horrific injuries to horses every year.”
If you wish to support the above organisations in their efforts, here are some ways to take action:
- Animals Australia – “Urgent: support SA bill to ban jumps racing” and “Help End Jumps Racing Carnage” (Automatically send emails to key persons in SA and Vic)
- RSPCA Victoria – “Take Action”
- Want to attend a demonstration? Keep an eye on the “Ban Jumps Racing” Facebook page for upcoming demonstrations organised by the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses.
- BanJumpsRacing.com are sending polite, concise emails to sponsors of jumps races. They have shared the information on their website here for others who wish to do likewise.
- Wear your advocacy with “Jumps Racing Kills, you can bet on it” merchandise care of Quest Equine Welfare.
- Determinants of Thoroughbred Racehorse Fatality in Victoria, Australia – RIRDC funded research into the risk of fatality in flat and jumps races over 15 years,
- The Law Society of South Australia, Submission in Relation to the Animal Welfare (Jumps Racing) Ammendment Bill 2011– Where the conclusions drawn include the possibility that jumps racing may already be in breach of the South Australian Animal Welfare Act.
- “Review of Jumps Racing in Victoria” commissioned by Racing Victoria in 2008 (Also known as the “Judge Jones Report”).
Jumps Racing Debate in Parliament, Hansard, Bills, and Similar Documents
- Animal Welfare (Jumps Racing) Amendment Bill 2011 South Australian Legislative Council
- Hansard of the Legislative Council of South Australia for Wed 28th Sept 2011. Covers debate on the Animal Welfare (Jumps Racing) Ammendment Bill 2011. See pages 3991 – 4003. (For a brief summary, you can read a blog post by Andrew Faulkner on City Messenger)
- Parliament of Victoria, Parliamentary Debates (Hansard), Legislative Council (PDF file) – May and June 2011 (p. 1741 – response regarding the future of jumps racing in Victoria) – states that Steeplechasing is due for review at the end of the 2011 season, and that hurdle racing is so far confirmed to continue until the end of the 2013 season.
Why did jumps racing cease in Victoria, only to be brought back again?
- Interview with Chief Executive of Racing Victoria, Rob Hines on the ABC’s 7:30 program, where he makes it clear that the jumps racing community in Victoria were unwilling to make any changes to improve the safety of the sport, until the decision was made to bring a complete halt. Only at that point were the jumps racing community prepared to negotiate. The sport was then brought back on a trial basis, provided key performance indicators are met, including rates of falls and deaths.
- “A Hurdle that has to be crossed” ~ Chief Executive of Racing Victoria, Rob Hines wrote this article in the Herald Sun newspaper where he provides a thorough argument against the continuation of jumps racing in Nov 2009 when the decision had been made for jumps racing to cease.
Websites and Blogs on jumps racing
- BanJumpsRacing.com – Information on jumps racing in South Australia and Victoria, including statistics, key performance indicators, horse deaths, list of race sponsors and latest news. They are on Twitter and Facebook.
- “ThrillsnSpills; An Insider’s View of Jumps Racing” – Regular commentary on jumps racing. Posts include analysis of betting investment on jumps races compared to flats races, discussion of individual horses’ careers, the latest events, media coverage and other statistics such as fall rates.
Websites from jumps racing supporters:
- Racing Victoria’s page on jumps racing under the equine welfare section of their website.
- Brief history of jumps racing in Australia – a history of the sport on the website of a racing photographer from South Australia, with details of how jumps racing ceased in all other states due to lack of support/interest from the public to warrant the expense of running events
- “Support Jumps Racing” – a site run by jumps racing supporters
For more information on Thoroughbreds, visit our Thoroughbreds page.
** Please note this page is a work in progress as this is such a big topic. Please let us know if you have any suggestions for content for this page.