First animal welfare direction issued by the QRIC

The Queensland Racing Integrity Commission (QRIC) has issued the first animal welfare direction under the Racing Integrity Act 2016.

Authorised officers and Queensland Police Service (QPS) Racing Crime Squad officers – currently seconded to the QRIC – attended a property yesterday near Beaudesert after concerns were raised about nine horses purchased at auction in February.

Three horses died since they were sold, and the Commission is monitoring the welfare of the remaining six.

The horses are capable of being licenced under the Act, to compete in the Harness code.

They were found to be in reasonable condition, however officers noticed there was inadequate shelter, water and feed on the property.

A two-month direction was issued under section 194 of the Act, ordering the owner to ensure the horses had clean water, shelter, food and rest.

Over the next two months, authorised officers may attend the property without notice and without permission, to check welfare standards are being maintained. Failure to follow a direction could result in charges being laid, which could lead to a fine or imprisonment.

Authorised officers can also extend the period of the direction if welfare concerns continue.

RSPCA officers also issued an animal welfare direction for other animals on the property, not covered by the Racing Integrity Act.

QRIC Commissioner Ross Barnett said it was an important result for the Commission.

“The QRIC is dedicated to ensuring welfare standards are upheld across the industry,” he said.

“This is a great example of how our officers are working together with other industry stakeholders to create a safer environment for racing animals.

“It’s also a wake-up call to those who are not doing the right thing, to get their facilities in order. Our authorised officers can make on-the-spot inspections of any facility where racing animals are kept, and serious penalties apply to those caught mistreating or neglecting animals.”