Jenny - Clean


ONE of the most appealing and endearing aspects of this wonderful country is our freedom of choice, which makes it so much sadder to see sections of the racing industry taking the high moral ground and baring their backsides to the ‘Looney Left’.

Jumps racing is not everyone’s cup of tea – and I for one don’t want to see horses put down in full view of the public – but it is the right of those involved in this long-standing section of the industry to survive.

Doesn’t this come down to a freedom of choice? We don’t ban alcohol because people get drunk, smoking because it causes lung cancer, escorts because frustrated guys and girls need a release or homosexuality because that is the way some are inclined.

The Australian way is to compromise and try to control the things that some people do which others prefer not to. If you want to fall over paralytic drunk then do it at home, if you want to have a smoke there are now restrictions on where you can do so and if you want to have an illicit shag there are legal means at your disposal.

Why not have restricted tracks outside Melbourne where jumps racing can continue – like Warrnambool – where the block-busting Grand Annual carnival continues to attract thousands of visitors and earns millions of dollars for the local and Victorian economies?

Like the warning that goes on the cigarette packets – ‘Smoking Is A Health Hazard’ – then why not issue a warning to those attending racetracks where jumps racing is conducted that there is a chance a horse could be hurt in a fall and have to be put down. That way it becomes a personal choice if you want to attend.

The bottom line is that the RVL decision on Jumps Racing has condemned to the knackery thousands of horses that would have wound up going over the jumps. That alone makes a mockery of celebrations being enjoyed by the lobby behind web-sites like

They wrote: ‘The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses is thrilled at the decision, suggesting that this may well signal the end of jumps racing in Australia.

“Victoria is Australia’s biggest racing state. Now only South Australia will be left with the burden of jumps racing and it will be a matter of time before they drop the hot potato as Victoria just has,” said Ward Young, Communication Manager for the Coalition.

‘There are grave concerns for the operation of the 2010 jumps racing season however and the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses hopes that no horses will be injured in the final year of operation. However it is inevitable. Jumps racing is being banned because it can’t operate without killing horses.’

One could argue that there is a touch of hypocrisy in the CPR jubilation at the RVL ruling. The web-site condemns the slaughter of tens of thousands of horses a year at knackeries, yet they have fought and it would seem achieved an outcome that can only increase this number.

The web-site claims: ‘It is estimated that approximately 18 000 Australian ex-racehorses are sent to their slaughter each year. Not surprisingly, this is largely hidden from the Australian public. If horses are sold to knackeries, they will be killed and processed for pet food.

‘Transporting horses to slaughter sometimes requires long travel, in cramped trailers, with no food or water. Injuries are common. If horses are not killed immediately upon arrival, they’re unloaded in holding pens.

‘One by one, these ex-racehorses are coerced in the killing box. Often they are killed in full view of other horses. Using the same method as killing cows, horses often throw their heads about trying to avoid the captive bolt that would normally render them unconscious before their throat is cut. Sometimes a rifle is also used. The kill is not always instant and the horse suffers a slow, lingering death.’

Very graphic detail but what price victory in the Jumps Racing controversy for the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorse when their action will arguably see thousands more now condemned to the same fate. The cure is far worse than the ‘so-called’ disease.

There are a few issues that we would like to raise that would obviously be of no interest to the CPR:

Do they bar the extremely popular Calgary Stampede in Canada because many horses are killed and injured or the bull fights in Spain – a national past-time – which to some visitors is abhorrent and barbaric?

Then there are those who love the duck shooting season, others overseas who find sport in deer hunting or good old mother England where pheasant shooting and fox hunting is also a national past-time.

Friends and I went to a boutique bull fight in the mountains of Spain many years ago and left half way through because it sickened us so much. It was put on for the tourists, the bull was not fully grown and the bull fighters were trainees. They chased the poor animal around until it was out on its feet then had trouble inflicting the fateful blow. It roared in pain as a hapless matador flung his sword behind its head but could not kill it.

Then there was the time we stopped beside the road to watch a pheasant shoot in the good ole English countryside. The birds have been fattened to such a degree that they have trouble getting into the air. Some poor peasant has to bang a clacker behind the trees to frighten the pheasants which get no more than six feet into the air before Lord Who-Ha and his aristocratic pals fill them full of buckshot from point blank range then order their faithful hounds to retrieve the carcasses. They call that sport!

For that matter can you imagine the Brits or the Royal Family, which races jumps horses, allowing the sport to be banned despite the high mortality rate of one of its biggest draw-cards – the Grand National – over the years?

Why then did Racing Victoria not attempt to reach a compromise with the ‘anti-jumps racing’ lobby? Instead this section of the industry faces a horrific funeral march as one final season of jumps racing is conducted.

The facts that influenced the RVL decision focused on safety of jockeys and horses; an increase in the number of falls despite additional safety measures being implemented; and 65 per cent of Victorians surveyed indicating support for a ban on jumps racing.

One of the problems in Australia is that none of the horses that compete in jumps racing are purpose-bred for that task. The vast majority have been bred to race on the flat, with a jumps racing career usually an alternative when they are no longer competitive in flat racing.

In other major countries, especially Britain and France, jumps horses are usually specifically bred for a career in hurdle and steeplechase racing. Their racing is conducted in a vastly different climate, on undulating tracks and at a much slower pace than in Australia.

Jumps Racing has been restricted to Victoria and South Australia for decades with Tasmania the only other state to conduct a handful of jumps races until it ceased there in April 2007.

Having made its decision to discontinue jumps racing in Victoria beyond 2010, RVL says it accepts the responsibility of addressing the social and economic ramifications. It has promised to work closely with affected participants and clubs to try and ensure an effective and smooth transition. Good luck!

What is it about officialdom in Australian racing these days? They are prepared to make a strong stand to appease the ‘do-gooders’ – like those opposed to whip use and jumps racing – but they are not ready to make a stand on an issue that is driving far more people away from the track.

Excessive drug and alcohol consumption by a new band of young race-goer, which has resulted in ugly brawling and despicable behavior at tracks across the country, is arguably the greatest cause of declining attendances.

Too many officials use the weak excuse that ‘it happened outside the track’ when it was fueled on course by too much booze. Much bad publicity was attracted by the brawl outside a race train at Southern Cross Station in Melbourne on Oaks night.

Police ejected hundreds of young race-goers from various tracks during the Victorian Spring Carnival. Dozens of those were arrested. Regulars, who are subjected to verbal abuse and attacks just trying to travel to and from the races, are sick of hearing the worn-out excuse from police and officials that ‘overall the crowd was well behaved.’

Eagle Farm racecourse in Brisbane was little better on Melbourne Cup day when some were so drunk on arriving at the track that they were denied entry. The Exhibition Wednesday meeting is little better with more arrests for bad behavior.

A couple of weeks ago a brawl involving 20 blokes broke out after the races outside the Doomben gates and continued on across the railways tracks down the road. There was another one on the lawn at Eagle Farm before the second last race recently.

Racing makes a monumental deal out of the bad image that jumps racing and over-use of the whip is giving the sport. But officials are keen to ‘sugar coat’ the drunken brawling that is a far greater problem.

The number of people reluctant to go to the races across the country because of this behavior would be far greater than those being driven away by the sad sight of a horse being put down after a fall in a jumps race in Victoria.

It’s about time the racing industry and those in charge got their priorities right before the ‘Looney Left’ starts targeting another section of the horse racing industry. They claim to care but you have to pose the question: ‘About what?’




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