Independent inquiry into the management of retired racehorses

Use of electric prodders on horses – an act of cruelty

From 1 August 2020, use of electric prodders on horses will be an act of cruelty under changes to the Queensland animal welfare laws to protect horses from unnecessary pain.

The changes follow recommendations made by the Inquiry into animal cruelty in the management of retired Thoroughbred and Standardbred horses in Queensland, also referred to as the Martin Inquiry.

The Queensland Government conducted an independent inquiry into the management of retired racehorses, including the regulatory and oversight arrangements for abattoirs and knackeries and the transport of horses to those facilities.

The inquiry followed the ABC's October 2019 7.30 story about the ‘wastage’ of retired racehorses, and raised issues about the treatment of horses at a Queensland abattoir.

Retired District Court Judge Terry Martin SC led the inquiry with the support of equine veterinary surgeon Dr Peter Reid. Both Mr Martin and Dr Reid have extensive experience in their respective fields and brought a wealth of knowledge and experience to the inquiry.

The inquiry has released its final report. Mr Martin and Dr Reid would like to thank all stakeholders for their submissions to the inquiry. For more information on the inquiry, see their Terms of reference (PDF, 538.5KB).

Queensland Government’s response to the independent inquiry

The Queensland Government has released its response to the independent inquiry.

The Queensland Government fully supported, supported in-part or supported in-principle all 55 recommendations by the inquiry.

The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission, and Racing Queensland will work collaboratively to implement the Government response recommendations.

The Government will strengthen the oversight and regulatory arrangements for abattoirs and knackeries and the transport of horses to those facilities. It will also promote good welfare outcomes for retired racing horses, and help protect jobs in the Queensland racing industry.

An investigation of the specific animal welfare issues alleged in the ABC's 7.30 story is ongoing.