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Adjournment: Horse racing inquiry

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
11 November 2020

My adjournment is for the Minister for Racing, and the action I seek is that the minister establishes an independent inquiry into the death of Anthony Van Dyck at last week’s Melbourne Cup.

Like many Victorians, I was disturbed to see the footage last Tuesday of Anthony Van Dyck shuddering to a halt on the racetrack, in clear distress. He suffered a fetlock bone fracture—a catastrophic break that causes extreme pain and suffering. But while the humane response would have been to euthanise the racehorse on the track, Anthony Van Dyck was removed from the racetrack and euthanised elsewhere, a decision that would have caused him unnecessary pain and suffering, in order to protect the public image of the Melbourne Cup.

Anthony Van Dyck is the seventh horse to be killed at the Melbourne Cup in as many years, another in a grim tally of racehorse deaths on racetracks in Victoria. In the year from August 2019 to July 2020, 31 racehorses were killed on Victorian tracks, suffering catastrophic injuries, including serious limb injury and head trauma.

We know horseracing kills, yet this government continues to not only allow it but promote it in Victoria. Just a few weeks ago, we saw an attempt to permit 500 racehorse owners to gather together at the Cox Plate, despite strict limitations on gatherings across the rest of Melbourne. And every year the Melbourne Cup is held again, despite growing public outcry against the cruelty inherent in the event.

The government’s cosy relationship with the racing industry reflects their cosy relationship with the gambling industry—two symbiotic industries that cause significant amounts of harm to our communities. Which leads to events like the cup, where horses like Anthony Van Dyck are killed in the name of gambling revenue, and where animal welfare is disregarded in order to hide the deaths that occur on the racetrack.

Animal welfare groups, as well as a former industry veterinarian, are calling for an independent inquiry into Anthony Van Dyck’s death, and the Greens are echoing their calls today in Parliament.

I ask the minister to set up an independent inquiry into the death of Anthony Van Dyck at last week’s Melbourne Cup.

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Samantha Ratnam
Leader of the Victorian Greens
11 November 2020
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