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Australia Queensland government blames horse owners for abattoir cruelty scandal

09:35  18 october  2019
09:35  18 october  2019 Source:   brisbanetimes.com.au

Former champion trainer charged with animal cruelty

  Former champion trainer charged with animal cruelty Banned Victorian horse trainer Darren Weir has been charged by police with animal cruelty and conspiracy offences. Police have been investigating the former trainer since three electronic jiggers – devices used in training to deliver an electric shock to horses – were found in a bedroom of his Ballarat home in January.The 49-year-old Melbourne Cup winner was disqualified for four years by Racing Victoria following a number of lengthy hearings in February.

“The owners of those horses had met their obligations under the Australian rules of racing and notified us that the horses had been retired, so there was no further The final case was an erroneous report that a horse had been sent to the abattoir . Investigations revealed it had been successfully rehomed.

As Australia's horse -racing community is left reeling by revelations horses have been discarded at slaughterhouses in Australia, owners are taking to social media to share how The Queensland Government has since announced an investigation into the abattoir for alleged animal mistreatment.

Video provided by ABC News

The former racehorses killed in appalling conditions in an abattoir north of Brisbane appear to have fallen through the jurisdictional cracks, with multiple agencies claiming they were not responsible for their welfare.

Biosecurity Queensland officers, who do not have the authority to enter premises without permission, were still speaking to management of Meramist Abbatoir in Caboolture on Friday afternoon to arrange an inspection of the premises.

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Queensland government blames horse owners for abattoir cruelty scandal . Complaints were received about the abattoir , but state authorities say the federal government is responsible for policing conditions inside the facility.

Queensland government blames horse owners for abattoir cruelty scandal . The former racehorses killed in appalling conditions in an abattoir north of Brisbane appear to have fallen through the jurisdictional cracks, with multiple agencies claiming they were not responsible for their welfare.

Vision of the thoroughbreds, many of which were former prizewinning racehorses, being slaughtered inhumanely in the facility was screened during an ABC 7.30 report on Thursday evening.

a blue and white sign: Flowers left at the entrance of Meramist Abattoir in Caboolture on Friday. © Jono Searle/AAP Flowers left at the entrance of Meramist Abattoir in Caboolture on Friday. a close up of a horse: The program shocked viewers with many calling for the industry to be held accountable. © ABC 7.30 The program shocked viewers with many calling for the industry to be held accountable.

The independent Queensland Racing Integrity Commissioner Ross Barnett on Friday said they had received five separate complaints about the abattoir in the last 18 months but none had resulted in further investigation.

“We don’t have any control or authority over public abattoirs, that’s the remit of other public agencies,” Mr Barnett said.

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Last week a horse abattoir in Yorkshire, Peter Boddy, was raided along with a Welsh meat trading company. Since the scandal the government has changed the rules so that horse carcasses may now only be released for consumption once they have been tested for bute.

ABP has blamed the adulteration in its chain on rogue managers at the Silvercrest site in County Before the horsemeat scandal broke, an animal sanctuary planted hidden cameras in key parts of the The family through their lawyer, initially denied that horse had ever been bought by the abattoir

“All five reports [of animals going to that facility] have been fully investigated.”

In one case, a complaint was made about horses being transferred from Victoria to the abattoir, which was investigated and referred to Victorian authorities.

Mr Barnett said in that case Victorian racing authorities and the RSPCA found there had been no breach of animal welfare.

In another case there were three separate reports of several horses from Queensland being taken to the abattoir; Mr Barnett said that had been investigated and the animals’ owners had been found to have met legislative requirements.

“The owners of those horses had met their obligations under the Australian rules of racing and notified us that the horses had been retired, so there was no further action we could take,” he said.

The final report was an erroneous report that a horse had been sent to the abattoir - investigations revealed it had been rehomed successfully.

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The abattoirs had been linked to the contamination of processed meat products sold in Europe. He is due to update the House of Commons on the scandal on Monday evening. What was more, he said, the orders, which had been checked prior to export, had been for horse carcass, which was

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT: A Queensland abattoir at the centre of the horse slaughter scandal is now the target of an investigation after an ABC 7:30 report The racehorse, believed to be thoroughbred War's End, was filmed being beaten before being slaughtered by an abattoir worker.

The QRIC website lists as its “Objective 1” the need to minimise “wastage” of racing animals, namely, their being killed after they had retired.

However Mr Barnett confirmed that while that was a goal, it was not currently backed up by law.

“Our legislative mandate is for the welfare of animals while they are involved with racing,” he said.

“We don’t have any control over the breeding programs of people in the industry, they’re market driven activities.

“We see the animals when they’re registered for racing, we monitor them throughout their racing life, and the obligation of the owner is to tell us when they’re finished racing.”

Queensland Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe threw the onus back on horse owners not to dispose of their animals once they had finished their careers.

“When an animal ceases to make money for you, it doesn’t cease to be your responsibility,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“The industry needs to take a level of responsibility and that’s why I have proactively … scheduled a forum to bring the industry together and discuss the importance of a need for a rehoming program for standard and thoroughbred racehorses.”

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A widening scandal over mislabelled horsemeat has affected at least 12 European countries. The French government believes that the sale of horsemeat labelled as beef went on for six months and There was "no reason to doubt the good faith" of the Romanian abattoir that originally provided the

Animal rights activists are accusing Egyptian slaughterhouses of cruelty to cattle. A recent video showing livestock being abused caused Australia to suspend The Egyptian government , however, denies the accusations, and has carried out inspections of abattoirs alleged to have been involved.

Mr Hinchliffe said that forum has been scheduled for November for some time, but he had moved it forward to next week following the report.

“How a horse moves from being a racing horse to a former racing horse, we need to have that conversation,” he said.

Racing Queensland, the body responsible for horse racing in the state, said it would work with the state government on the issue, but said ultimately it needed a national solution.

"In Australia, there needs to be a system to track horse movement once they leave the industry. A national horse traceability program is critical,” Racing Queensland chief executive Brendan Parnell said in a statement.

State opposition racing spokesman John-Paul Langbroek said the government had learned nothing from a previous racing scandal involving the greyhound racing industry.

“The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission was set up by the Palaszczuk Labor Government with a $30 million annual budget to crackdown on these issues, following another Four Corners scandal in 2015,” Mr Langbroek said

Local LNP MP for Pumicestone Simone Wilson said it was shocking to learn of what had been happening at the abattoir.

“You’ve got the Queensland State Equestrian Centre less than a kilometre down the road from [the abattoir],” she said.

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  #Lovemyhorse: Owners show how much they love their horses after Meramist Abattoir scandal In the wake of revelations racehorses have been discarded at a slaughterhouse, horse owners are taking to social media to share pictures of their horses living their best lives after their racing days.Earlier this week, the ABC's 7.30 program revealed hidden-camera video taken at the Meramist Abattoir in Caboolture, which showed former racehorses being kicked, dragged, shocked and slaughtered.

Meramist a major source of horse meat

Meramist Abattoir is one of only two facilities in Australia accredited for the processing and export of horse meat.

While culturally unpalatable to Australians, the meat is sold to a number of overseas markets, mostly in the European Union.

An estimated 500 horses a month are processed at the facility, and Queensland Agriculture Minister Mark Furner said his department would have been aware of the number of horses being processed at the facility.

“This is a matter which involves not only Biosecurity Queensland but also involves the federal government, with their obligations to have a federal veterinarian at the place, being that it’s an exporter of horse meat,” Mr Furner said.

“This government will come down hard on these people if they are found to be in breach of the Animal Care and Protection Act, which has maximum penalties of seven years' jail.”

Queensland chief biosecurity officer Malcolm Letts said the complaints they had received recently were all around the condition horses were in when they arrived at the abattoir, not conditions inside the facility.

“The responsibility in relation to monitoring the conditions inside the abattoir rests with the department of agriculture at a Commonwealth level,” Mr Letts said.

“We have been working with them since the program aired last night to get a report in relation to matters that they have been investigating.”

Mr Furner said he had written to federal agriculture minister Bridget McKenzie about the issue and would be raising it in person with her at a meeting of all the state and federal agriculture ministers next week.

Police called on media

The abattoir was on lock-down on Friday following the revelations, with the owners so jumpy they called the police on the small media pack that formed at its gate.

A Queensland Police Service spokeswoman said police were called to the Caboolture abattoir on Friday over fears of “a mob” trespassing the property.

"We attended but found a number of reporters and camera crews outside the property," she said.

"Police were there for 10 minutes and left."

The abattoir did not answer calls from Brisbane Times on Friday.

Inquiry launched into the welfare of retired racehorses .
An independent inquiry will investigate the treatment of retired racehorses and allegations of animal cruelty at abattoirs, the Queensland Premier has announced. An independent inquiry will investigate the treatment of retired racehorses and allegations of animal cruelty at abattoirs, the Que Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the inquiry will be overseen by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission and will be headed by retired judge Terry Martin SC.She said the inquiry will determine what processes can be put in place to end cruelty to animals in Queensland.

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