The distressing death of a horse called Douglas during today’s Devonport Cup race program has once again highlighted the inherent animal welfare issues involved with horseracing.

RSPCA CEO, Jan Davis, said “We are deeply saddened to hear of the death of yet another horse on a Tasmanian racecourse. During this difficult time, the RSPCA extends sincere sympathies to those who contributed to Douglas’s care.”

“The frequency of catastrophic injury in horse races is of grave concern to the RSPCA – and to all Tasmanians who care for animals,” Ms Davis said.

“On average, at least two horses die every week on Australian racecourses, so the sad fact is that this death was a tragic but hardly unforeseeable outcome.”

Ms Davis said practices must be changed to minimise the risks of this happening again.

“This very unfortunate incident highlights the need for the industry to work together with the RSPCA and other stakeholders to achieve better welfare outcomes for animals used in sport,” Ms Davis said.

“Whenever there is an adverse outcome for an animal, as there was in this race, our expectation is that there will be a comprehensive review to identify ways to avoid injury or trauma to racehorses in the future.”

“The Tasmanian community expects the racing industry to make every effort to minimise the risk to horses, so these processes must be public, transparent and timely.”

Jan Davis, CEO – RSPCA Tasmania
Mobile: 0409 004 228

Photo: Tasracing staff tend to Douglas after the gelding crashed into the outside barrier during race three on the Devonport Cup program. Picture: Simon Sturzaker.