Animal advocacy group SAFE says that September proved to be the worst month for jumps racing casualties in New Zealand, with three horses killed.
Jumps deaths this season stood at six, it said. The season finishes tomorrow.
Two horses died in jumps races last week. Son of Zoff and Silence Please were euthanised after suffering injuries on September 19 at Rotorua’s Arawa Park racecourse.
“The industry is fortunate there have not been more deaths this season,” campaign director Eliot Pryor said.
“Jumps races are a lottery for the horses, with a much higher rate of injuries and casualties than flat racing.
Pryor said the jumps death rate was unacceptable.
“On average one horse died per month this season. How can jumps racing be called a sport when it is routinely sending horses to an early death?”
He said there may also have been deaths off the track not recorded in the stewards’ reports, after a race, or in trials.
“It is likely that the true animal welfare cost of the jumps racing industry is even greater,” Pryor said.
“The industry doesn’t want the public to know that horses are regularly dying on New Zealand race tracks.”
Pryor said SAFE was demanding a ban on jumps racing and urged the public to contact Racing Minister Nathan Guy with their concerns.
Jumps racing is also under scrutiny in Australia, with just two states allowing it —Victoria and South Australia.
There have been repeated calls by animal advocacy groups to ban the sport, with racing and state authorities monitoring death rates.