The tragic deaths of Admire Rakti and Araldo in separate incidents at the Melbourne Cup have understandably raised questions in the wider community.
Australia’s racing authorities, who have the safety and health of horses and their riders as an absolute priority above all else, want the facts to be known so that members of the community can make informed judgments on the issues.
In the 2013-14 racing season, there were 189,259 starters in 19,511 races. The number of fatalities for the season is yet to be confirmed, but assuming it is at the high end of 125 that extremists claim, this represents a fatality ratio of 0.07% of starters.
Every death of every horse is a tragedy for its loving owner, trainer and strapper and a sad occasion for racing participants. But such fatalities are unpredictable despite the care of stable veterinarians and regulatory veterinarians on duty at every race meeting in Australia. Each fatality is followed by an autopsy and of the hundreds done to date, most, if not all, have found that there was no detectable pre-existing condition in the horse.
Racing is amongst the most regulated and accountable industries, let alone sports, in Australia. We are proud of our animal welfare standards which are rigorously overseen by racing stewards. The fact is that in all human and animal sports, there are unforeseen accidents and deaths. Every livestock farmer knows this only too well.
Racing strives to build on its outstanding record of veterinary care and innovative science and will consider the circumstances of the tragic losses of Admire Rakti and Araldo. But it will do so on the basis of facts and science not the exploitive claims of extremists whose stated goal is to close down the racing industry.
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