Horse dies at last hurdle in Vic jumps race

August 29, 2011

A horse died yesterday in a jumps race at Sandown in Victoria, with animal welfare advocates renewing calls for the sport to the banned.

The Victoria RSPCA branded the death of six-year-old Fergus McIver at the last jump at the Houlahan Hurdle as tragic.

It was the gelding's fourth jump start.

A necropsy will be performed at the Werribee Vetinerary Clinic to determine the cause of death.

Fergus McIver was the fourth horse to die in a jumps race this season in Victoria.

The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses had mounted protests on the day, both inside and outside the course.

Protesters unfurled several banners calling for an end to the sport, and were asked to leave. There were heated exchanges between some at the track and protesters.

Some of the signs were ripped.

The Victoria SPCA said of the latest death: "Why does this legalised cruelty continue? Jumps racing is not tolerated in any other state but Victoria and South Australia.

"Why then, does the Victorian State Government continue to fund this sport?

"Horses must not be forced to endure this unnecessary suffering."