The racing industry presents itself as a fun, family-friendly event, but this is far from reality. Every month, hundreds of horses sustain injuries or suffer from illnesses after being forced to race in the name of entertainment.
Animal Liberation monitors the NSW Horse Racing Steward’s Reports to record how many horses display signs of an unwillingness to race, suffer from injuries, collide while running, and are over-whipped.
The following is the breakdown for January 2021.
Injuries, Illnesses, & Deaths
In just 31 days of racing, 155 horses sustained one or more injuries while running on NSW tracks. Melted Moments and Noble Belle are two individuals who lost their lives due to the severity of their injuries.
|Injuries, Illnesses, & Deaths||Number of Horses|
|Slow to recover / Poor post-race recovery||54|
|Lameness / Soreness / Strain||44|
|Abrasions / Lacerations / Graze / Speedy Cuts||19|
|Abnormal Respiratory Noise / Respiratory Distress / Coughing||10|
|Exercise-Induced Pulmonary Haemorrhage (Bleeding lungs)||6|
|Atrial Fibrillation / Cardiac Arrhythmia||5|
|Galloped on (Skin or Tendon Trauma)||5|
|Thumps (Irregular Spasming of Diaphragm)||1|
|Tying Up (Stiff and in Pain)||1|
The Stewards reported that 221 horses “made contact”, “bumped”, or “struck” another horse, barrier, or running rail, often on multiple occasions, while running. While not all of these collisions result in an injury, many are noted to become unbalanced after the contact, which increases their risk of injury.
Poor Behaviours & Unwillingness to Race
The Stewards take notes on the horse’s behaviour before and during the race. The behaviours, such as having poor performance, being fractious, uncompetitive, or refusing to be loaded into the barrier, are indicative of an unwillingness to participate.
Please note, some horses display more than one negative behaviour and are recorded multiple times.
|Behaviour||Number of Horses|
|Disappointing / Poor Performance||55|
|Fractious / Agitated||31|
|Unsettled / difficult to ride / Intractable / Unresponsive||15|
|Reared / Escaped / Ran off / Dislodged rider||11|
|Poor Barrier / Racing manners||6|
|Stood flatfooted / Refused to jump||5|
|Difficult to Load||5|
|Refused to Load||4|
Pre-Race Injuries & Illnesses
Before they even entered the race, 28 horses sustained one or more injuries or displayed signs of an illness.
|Pre-Race Injuries & Illnesses||Number of Horses|
|Abrasion / Laceration||6|
|Blood in Nostril||2|
Throughout January, 223 jockeys were noted as having “exceeded the permitted strikes of the whip prior to the 100m under AR132(7)(a)(ii)”, yet only four were penalised with a fine.