Monday, 12 November 2018
I, and also on behalf of Senator Hinch, move:
That the Senate—
(a) notes that:
(i) according to Racing Australia's latest annual report, more than 13 000 thoroughbred foals were born in 2017,
(ii) there is currently no lifetime tracking of horses once they leave the racing industry,
(iii) the community has an expectation that all animals used for racing are rehomed, but race horses are still ending up at knackeries, including being used for pet meat,
(iv) all registered Australian racehorses have a microchip inserted into their necks which would allow them to be tracked throughout their lifetime, and
(v) the RSPCA has called for a national tracing and registration system for all horses, starting with those involved in the racing industry; and
(b) calls on the Australian Government to work with the states and territories to establish a national tracing and registration system for race horses, including a requirement that all slaughterhouses and knackeries scan any horse that enters the premises and those results be sent to the Australian Government and Racing Australia to be published publically.
Labor opposes this motion because, while its intent is understandable, it is unnecessary. On 1 August 2016, Racing Australia introduced new rules relating to the traceability of horses, bringing both foals and owners under the Australian rules of racing for integrity and animal welfare purposes. These rules were amended in October 2016 to ensure stewards have access to studs and farms to monitor the health and welfare of horses. According to the chair's report in the annual report referenced in the motion, the new rules ensure the traceability and welfare of all thoroughbred horses from birth until rehoming.
A national horse register makes sense for animal welfare, for safety and for biosecurity. Animal advocates, safety advocates and the racing industry itself agree about the need for a centralised national register. We are just stuck on what model, who is included and how to pay. We definitely need national leadership, and I will continue to push for federal leadership in establishing a national register. Horses do not have lifetime tracking beyond the first movement.
I want to pay tribute to Juliana Waugh AM and Mark Waugh for their tireless advocacy on this issue since tragically losing their daughter, Sarah, in 2011 in a horse-riding accident. The national register is a sensible public policy. Together we can save lives, we can protect biosecurity and we can stop racing horses being discarded at knackeries when they're no longer profitable.