National

Qld racehorse probe oversight criticised

By AAP Newswire

An urgent inquiry into the treatment of retired racehorses ordered by the Queensland government has been criticised as a case of "Caesar judging Caesar".

The state opposition says the inquiry triggered in response to reports of horses being kicked, dragged, shocked and slaughtered in abattoirs should not be overseen by the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.

The organisation, with its $30 million annual budget and coercive powers, should have known about the mistreatment of retired race horses, says Opposition Racing spokesman John-Paul Langbroek.

"QRIC overseeing is inappropriate, QRIC is where the trouble started. How can QRIC be the solution? QRIC is the problem; it's Ceasar judging Ceasar," Mr Langbroek told parliament on Tuesday.

Mr Langbroek noted that of the 84 press releases issued by the body last year not one was about re-homing former race horses.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has ordered the inquiry be headed by retired District Court judge Terry Martin with the support of Australian Veterinary Association representative Dr Peter Reid and oversight from the QRIC.

It will look at regulatory and oversight arrangements for the management of retired race horses and the operation of facilities accepting horses for slaughter.

How well existing processes for detecting, assessing, mitigating and prosecuting welfare breaches is to be examined as will models in other states and potential changes to the tracking and welfare of retired horses.

"It is a necessary inquiry to provide Queenslanders with confidence the racing industry is doing everything possible to ensure the welfare of horses," Ms Palaszczuk said.

"Animal welfare is everybody's responsibility and my government will not stand for cruelty to animals."

An investigation into the treatment of horses at the Meramist Abattoir in Caboolture is ongoing.

Racing Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said plans for a forum to examine racing horses and their post-career lives were underway before an ABC 7.30 report revealed a racehorse cruelty scandal last week.

He said the forum has been brought forward to Tuesday.