Report proposes reforms for Tasmania’s harness racing industry

The inquiry was led by racing integrity expert Ray Murrihy.
The inquiry was led by racing integrity expert Ray Murrihy.

The report urges new rules around the slaughter and rehoming of horses.

Australia.- Ray Murrihy, an expert in racing integrity, has published his interim report on Tasmania’s harness racing industry. It calls for stricter regulations to prevent trainers from euthanising animals without proper authorisation.

The recommendation comes in response to concerns raised about the treatment of racehorses after images surfaced in the media raising questions about the industry’s ethical standards. Murrihy’s report also proposes the establishment of minimum welfare standards for racehorses and a more rigorous framework for their rehoming.

The report also raises concerns over the dominance of races by horses from a single stable, leading to a “stifling of competition” within the industry. It does not make any allegations of race-fixing or team driving, but highlights a need for reforms in the current racing model to ensure fair competition. It recommends using a new rating system for races to prevent monopolisation by a single trainer.

Murrihy’s recommendations assume that the Tasmanian government will implement the recommendations of a 2021 review by former Victorian Racing Club chief executive Dale Monteith. Racing minister Felix Ellis said Murrihy’s report “reinforces the recommendations” made by Monteith, many of which have already been accepted by the government. He said the government would consider the proposals.

Dean Winter, labour shadow racing minister, said the report acknowledged it was “bad for integrity” if one trainer had the majority of horses in a race. He welcomed the proposed new rating system and said it should have already been put in place.

See also: Tasmania to review greyhound care regulations

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