ABC slammed over horse cruelty story
RACING NSW has slammed ABC's 7.30 program for a "false" and "unfair" broadcast on racehorse cruelty which claimed horses were slaughtered "on an industrial scale".
In a 21-page letter to ABC managing director David Anderson, Racing NSW chair Russell Balding has highlighted erroneous claims he says the ABC made about the state industry.
The 7.30 program's report dubbed "The Final Race" was timed to air last month amid the Spring racing carnival, days before the Caulfield Cup and Cox Plate.
It aired distressing footage of horses at knackeries and in particular at a Queensland abattoir.
On Melbourne Cup day, animal rights activists picketed the event with placards about horse racing cruelty.
In the October 17 program, host Leigh Sales said the ABC could "reveal what really goes on when racehorses' lives end in knackeries and abattoirs".
Reporter Caro Meldrum-Hanna said "the racing industry's wastage is endless".
A 7.30 interviewee, racing critic Professor Paul McGreevy, said "we're talking about destroying horses on an industrial scale … Racing NSW will really struggle to justify what's going on here".
The report claimed hundreds possibly thousands of racehorses were being slaughtered each year.
In his letter, Mr Balding, himself a former ABC managing director, said the broadcaster has committed "serious and numerous breaches of its statutory duties in airing the show".
He said there was "no effort by the program to explain" that Racing NSW was not associated with the abbattoir where horse deaths were filmed, or aware of "the atrocities occuring at the facility".
The letter also states that comments about the industry are undercut with soundtrack of one of the abattoir's workers berating horses with "you dumb f***ing dumb c**t" and f***ing stupid c**t".
Following the program's release,Racing Australia chief executive Barry O'Farrell said he was "reasonably confident" that just 34 horses, or less than one per cent of retired racehorses, were slaughtered annually.
Racing NSW says in its letter that only one of the 29 horses said to have been from NSW and illegally disposed came from the industry.
"Further, one horse, Reliable Kingdom, said to have been 'condemned to death' is in fact alive," it wrote.
The ABC program said the five-year-old gelding was among nine animals sold through Camden Horse Sales to Burns Pet Foods.
The horse had earlier been rescued from the knackery and lives northwest of Sydney.