Vet association condemns racehorse slaughter, call for widespread reform

18 Oct 2019

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) strongly condemns the mass slaughter of horses as reported last night on the ABCs ‘The 7.30 Report’ and call upon the Australian government to implement a nationwide welfare standard and register to protect the welfare of all horses. 

Dr Sam Nugent, President of the AVA’s Equine Veterinarians Australia (EVA) Group said, “as veterinarians, we found the treatment of the horses in the leaked video footage highly distressing. The AVA would like to see all parties involved in these illegal practices held accountable for abhorrent and illegal actions.

Abattoirs and knackeries that are breaching animal cruelty laws, as well as horse racing authorities that are not enforcing their own welfare rules for post-career horses, need to be held accountable. Breaches of animal welfare cannot be tolerated.”

The ongoing welfare of horses after their racing career is the responsibility of the horse racing industry. We call upon racing authorities to get stronger on enforcing welfare standards for their retired racehorses. The AVA will be following up with racing authorities shortly to ensure appropriate action is taken for the welfare breaches shown on ‘The 7.30 Report’.

Currently, welfare laws for animals are maintained at a state government level and the scope of protection for horses varies between states. Following reports of animals being moved across state boundaries for slaughter, the AVA believes that a national animal welfare standard is required to maintain welfare standards. In addition, the AVA calls for a ‘national horse register’ to be established for greater oversight of the country’s equine population. The AVA will lobby the Federal Government to implement both as soon as possible.

The AVA and the organisation’s specialist Equine Veterinarians Australia Group advocate for the health and welfare of all horses, not just racehorses, and has policy on Humane Slaughter, which can be viewed on

For further information and requests for interviews contact the AVA media office on 0439 628 898 or

The Australian Veterinary Association (AVA) is the only national association representing veterinarians in Australia. Founded in 1921, the AVA today represents 9000 members working in all areas of animal science, health, and welfare.