RSPCA South Australia wants the South Australian Parliament to take immediate action to stop jumps racing in the state after a horse named Trenchtown died as a result of an injury suffered at Morphettville on Saturday.
“Trenchtown has sadly become the 16th horse to die as a result of jumps racing in South Australia since 2009,” the charity’s animal welfare advocate, Dr Di Evans, said.
“Trenchtown’s tragic death could have been avoided if South Australia had followed the lead of other Australian states who no longer hold jumps races.”
The 10-year-old gelding was euthanised as a result of a leg injury during the 3100 metre William Hill Hurdle.
The charity expressed concern that “inadequate measures” were being taken by both the Victorian and South Australian Jumps Review Panel. It noted that Trenchtown had suffered a fall at Bendigo on June 28 and then dislodged his rider during a follow-up trial, but was still permitted to race.
“It is not possible to make jumps racing safe,” Evans said. “Despite efforts to reduce the risks, horses continue to suffer fatal injuries.
“Horses and their jockeys are forced to clear jumps more than a metre high, in a pack, at speed – and in some events after running nearly five kilometres.
“Recent events also point to the serious injury risk to jockeys when participating in jumps races,” she said.
“Despite continued calls over the past three years by the South Australian Jockey Club to cease jumps at Morphettville, Thoroughbred Racing SA continues to sanction this inhumane sport.”
The charity said it strongly supported the Animal Welfare (Jumps Racing) Amendment Bill introduced in March this year by Greens MP Tammy Franks to prohibit jumps racing in the state.
“We call on the SA Parliament to implement a committee into jumps racing as quickly as possible,” Evans said.
The charity noted that a 2006 University of Melbourne study found a horse competing in a jumps race was nearly 19 times more likely to die in an event compared to a flat racing horse.
RSPCA South Australia said it was opposed to jumps racing because of what it described as the unacceptable risk.
South Australia and Victoria are the only two Australian states which still hold jumps races.