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Jumps Racing

Sirrocean Storm was a jumps racing horse. In May 2010 during the Galleywood Hurdle at Warnambool, Storm suffered injuries too extreme to fix. His leg was broken to the point where a once strong and straight leg stood. One that flies back and forth in a grotesque U shape had replaced it. Storm was seen collapsing on the green of the Warnambool race track while the jockey attempted to nurse him. Soon he is forced to his feet and then pushed to walk a few meters before collapsing to the ground. For a second time he is forced to his feet and dragged forward another few meters. He again collapses. Green screens are then brought out to be placed around Sirrocean Storm so spectators can not view what is about to take place, but in a rush of pain and confusion Storm attempts an escape. Not making it very far from where he began his escape Storm collapses for the last time and the green screens are brought around him again. Jumps racing injures horses. They are long, difficult and hard on the horses bones. Every jump causing micro-crushing to the horses bones leaving them weaker and more susceptible to breakage. They should be banned across Australia because of their high frequency of harm to horses. Horses bones contain a spongy, honeycomb section that are designed to be a shock absorber. It is a necessary part of the bones because of large stresses put upon the bones while galloping at high speeds. The front leading leg for instance hits the ground at an impact of 1.7 times the body weight of the horse, when it comes to jumps racing it is considerably larger then 1.7 times. Other factors that increase the difficulties of jumps racing is the length of the racing. Races can be over 5,000 meters. Such long races have permanent effects on the horses that then contribute to future injuries. Some of the possible injuries that horses can face are severe longlimb fractures and head and neck injuries such as vertebral fractures to horses involved in these jumps racing. Injuries contracted in jumps racing are considerably dangerous to a horses well being as they are extremely painful and stressful, sometimes so much so the horse dies or is euthanized like in Sirrocean Storms case. Hurdles racing are one kind of jumps racing, it involves horses jumping over light weight framed fences that have brush tops. A second kind, Steeplechases, has horses jumping higher and over more solid obstacles increasing the pressure on the horses bones. A Dr, Thomas Tobin calculated that if a horse was to break their canon bone at the start of a race it would have taking about 16,000 foot-pounds of force to make that happen, but with the amount of micro-crushing that can possibly take place in a race can lower this force to approximately 9000 pounds. This in other words means that the stresses on bones during lengthy jumps races produce a high level of micro-crushing which severely reduces the breaking strength of bones. Any small mishap or slip can land a horse with broken bones. Jumps races are now illegal in over half of Australias states. In 1991 a Senate Select Committee on Animal Welfare gave their concern for the danger of Jumps racing to horses. They said that the committee has serious concerns about the welfare of horses suffering serious injury or even death as a result of participating in these events and, in particular, steeplechasing. It was then concluded that there was a true clash between animal welfare and jumps racing. Even with the improvement of jumps or racetracks they saw no way of

ensuring the horses safety and so in result the Committee decided that the South Australian state government should phase out jumps racing. Currently South Australia and Victoria remain the last states to have jumps racing. Since 2001 the amount of jumps racing courses has halved and there has been a steady decline in the number of races and the number of starts within them. Many reviews have taken place within Victoria to produce recommended improvements to jumps racing to lower the risks to horses. A study covering from 1989 to 2004 concludes there has been no decline in horse fatalities since any of these measurements were put in place. The reviews came to no conclusion that can improve the safety of jumps racing which brings up the question can the safety be improved or is it just an unsafe sport thats only solution is to be banned? Jumps races arent just unsafe for the horses. On May 5 2011 a jumps racing horse, Banna Strand, while at the course proper sped away and galloped off to another perimeter of the course. She faced a two meter fence and jumped straight over it directly into an occupied area where a gathering of punters stood outside the racecourse. This totally horrific and unexpected event left seven hospitalized, including a toddler, 80yr old woman and a young teenager girl. This occurred at the Warnambool Racing Carnival, a racing event labeled by RSPCA as a killing ground for horses. Later on in the event multiple horses fell and were injured, some horses too seriously injured to recover. Other than instances like this, jockeys are often injured in these races as well. When their horses fall they go down with them and sometimes they are even trampled on afterwards. A 15yr long study has come out with results showing that on average over 13 horses each year were killed in jumps racing, this being that the risk of dying was near to 20% higher then flat races and 2.5% higher in steeplechasing than in hurdles. The Jones Review of Jumps in Victoria presented a table listing the falls and deaths since 2001 and in the table it was shown that nearly 3 in every 100 starters fell and just less than 1 in every 100 horses is killed. By June 2011 a total of 7 horses had already passed away in result of jumps racing in SA and Victoria. With just two states producing this number can you image if all states were still jumps racing what number of horse deaths there would be? For nearly all jumps racing horses death is nothing but near. If a horse is no longer fast enough for racing they are sent to the slaughter house. Those who support horse jumps racing say that if it werent for jumps racing, horses that were too slow to succeed on the flat are sent to the slaughterhouse. But such a trade off is short lived as horses inevitably end up at the slaughter house any way, if not used for breeding. A jumps racing career is short lived by most horses. Around half of horses run in 5 or fewer races and only 11% run in more than 20 races. If they survive their jumps career they still are likely to end up at the slaughterhouse if they are no longer making money and as a racing writer noted recently in horse auctions in Adelaide about 20% of the horses were sold for slaughter. So why is it that jumps racing still exists if it is both dangerous to horses and jockeys? The chances of harm to horses are too great to let it continue and yet it still does in two of Australias states. If 4 out of 6 states saw a reason to phase it out why have these two other states not? This year alone 11 horses dies in result of jumps racing, thats 11 too many. The

solution to this issue is to ban jumps racing to remove the risk of injuries to horses and for the industries to accept responsibility for re-homing unsuccessful racers.