Horses need an identity urgently, but in the State of Victoria there currently is no system nor accountability to accurately determine the number of horses. Nor is it compulsory to register them, unless your horse is a particular breed, in some cases. Some horse breed associations RVL, HRV, require mandatory registrations of both horses and owners, whilst other horse breed societies don’t subscribe to any such manner of registration. Editor: We have put this article up at the top of the front page again in view of the ABC program, "The dark side of the horse racing industry," broadcast 17 October 2019.
Victoria is undoubtedly a very large populated horse industry and, as the welfare of horses, in the opinion of experts, is maintained by the above-mentioned, cruelty and abuse is rife and expanding, as our database and evidence of proof show. Horses must be registered. The animal welfare agencies that are privileged to have the monopolized responsibility to enforce the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act (POCTA) in this state are overloaded. Resourses, so they tell us, are limited. Furthermore, horses are not consistently categorized as livestock or domestic animals within the animal welfare act. In consequence, they unfortunately fall between the cracks of the animal welfare system!
The upshot is that policing is left to voluntary rescue organizations, and the community, to report infringements that are observed. This also put a heavier burden on the authorized
protectors. Councils and Shires also have the responsibility to investigate animal welfare complaints within their areas but seldom do. In any case they always pass the complaint onto RSPCA where once again the burden overloads!
The initiative or the ability to perform duties to investigate animal welfare complaints appears unfruitful within some councils. This, even though most local laws officers have been
endorsed by the minister for “general inspector qualification 18”. At times ti seems they do not enforce the action, through inexperience!
An exception is the local laws in South East Victoria. There is a great record of animal welfare within their shire, as proven by their ability to prosecute all offences under POCTA. Horses are a great contributor to the economy of Victoria through many outlets, for instance racing, trotting, breeding, pleasure, and as a companion animal. Unfortunately, however, many end up at the slaughter yards or sent overseas for human consumption.
The complaints we receive at Animal Cruelty Hotline must be passed onto the appropriate authorities but without any feedback forthcoming from these two authorities that claim, “privacy laws inhibit us to allow feedback!” Racing Victoria and Harness Racing have a duty of care to monitor their members regarding infringements of cruelty and abuse and should not leave it up
to RSPCA alone to investigate problems.
This government must undertake to introduce mandatory registrations/ micro chipping for all horses which will then give them at least an identity and will then curtail the continuance of abuse, cruelty and neglect.
The government introduced new "Puppy Farm laws" "to control abuse, cruelty and indiscriminate breeding." Well Minister, the same alleged abuse happens within the horse industry and, at present, anyone can hang out a shingle in the front paddock and say, "Here I am. I am a dealer/breeder. I can breed anything I like and sell the product without fear of intervention, no license, no experience needed."
We register all other animals before sending them off to sale yards, including cattle, sheep, pigs, calves - all ear-tagged and/or tattooed sowhy not register horses? There is no difference between puppy farming and horse farming, in this respect. Cruelty has no monopoly. It belongs to all and it exists within the horse industry, where a permit or license to trade or breed is not needed. Animals will still suffer.
In conclusion the state government cannot keep their heads buried in the sand whilst these animals, which helped settle this country, ploughed the fields, went off to war (none came back,) continue to suffer without the privilege of the mandatory requirements of all creatures great and small!
Defining the correct category in POCTA is a must and should be supported by more resources and aid to fight the war on cruelty and abuse to an animal that is not categorized as an identity!!
***. . Barrie TAPP Animal Cruelty Hotline Australia Operates 24/7. To report animal cruelty anonymously free call 1800751770 anytime/anywhere 24/7.