The Final Race: The dark side of the horse racing industry exposed disturbing details about the disposal of retired thoroughbreds for food for human consumption. It showed video footage of so-called ‘wastage’ of those horses that were no longer required. It showed their slaughter in an abattoir with animals being beaten, given electric shocks and “trapped and trampled’. It claimed that up to 4000 horses disappear each year, a figure that has been disputed by racing authorities such as Racing Victoria.
Many viewers found the segment extremely distressing. This reaction to a short Facebook version echoed their feelings.
The numbers were disputed by industry bodies such as Racing Victoria. Nevertheless, shortly afterwards they announced a $AU 25 million [USD 17 million] racehorse welfare program.
A number of related issues have been highlighted in the wake of the scandal. Injuries and deaths related to the running of the Cup have been an ongoing concern. The on course putting down of horses with broken bones has focused public attention on this side of the race and horse racing in general.
Calls to end the use of whips by jockeys during races have multiplied, with many expecting the practice to be banned in the near future.