Jockey’s anguish: ‘It can’t keep going on like this’


JOCKEY Laura Cheshire has called on authorities to protect the animals that allow the industry to flourish, after she desperately tried to track down a beloved retired racehorse only to discover it had been brutally killed in an abattoir.

The Queensland hoop was devastated after watching horrifying video of a horse she once cared for and loved, put to death at a Caboolture abattoir where it is alleged more than 300 racehorses representing $5 million in prizemoney were killed over a 22-day period.

A Facebook post she wrote soon after went viral, where she lamented that despite several attempts to find a "forever home" for the horse War Ends - a winner of $360,000 on the racetrack - he eventually fell into the wrong hands.

Cheshire, who rode at Ipswich yesterday, told The Courier-Mail she was "a bawling mess" after watching the ABC's 7.30 Report story.

She said Queensland authorities need to take responsibility and contribute funds in the same way NSW does to provide care for horses after their race career has ended.

The racing industry is failing racehorses. I have failed a racehorse. My heart is so broken. War ends I tried to do the...

Posted by Laura Cheshire on Thursday, 17 October 2019

"Racing Queensland is the racing body and QRIC is the integrity office, I don't know who should be dealing with it, but somebody should be. They can't just turn a blind eye now," she said.

"It can't keep going on like this. Something has to be done. Racing bodies in NSW and Victoria are trying.

"There's nothing (in Queensland) for these horses after they finish racing.

"All of these horses were once in an industry where they were looked after and cared for.

"Somewhere along the lines they have gone into the wrong hands."

Cheshire noted how NSW allocates 1 per cent of prizemoney from every race and places it in an animal welfare fund. She says Queensland should do the same.

Jockey Laura Cheshire after racing yesterday. Picture: John Gass/AAP
Jockey Laura Cheshire after racing yesterday. Picture: John Gass/AAP

"People aren't going to miss it and if they do complain, they shouldn't be in the industry because if we didn't have these horses, we don't have a job," she said.

"These horses are what hold us up.

"They are our industry and it just can't be that they are thrown away like this."

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission was set up with a charter to oversee "the integrity and welfare standards of racing animals and racing industry participants."

Though Racing Queensland is therefore not responsible for animal welfare, chief executive Brendan Parnell said he was committed to working alongside QRIC and the broader industry to deliver change.

"As an industry, we have a collective responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of our horses," Parnell said.

"The vision we witnessed at the Caboolture abattoir was distressing.

"The inhumane treatment of horses - be it thoroughbreds, standardbreds or otherwise - is abhorrent and should not be happening under any circumstance.

"This is a national issue.

"In Australia, there needs to be a system to track horse movement once they leave the industry.

"A national horse traceability program is critical."