For Immediate Release:
6 June 2019
Over 3,000 Australian Horses and Their Offspring Have Been Cast Off by the Racing Industry and Killed for Meat in South Korea
Sydney – For the first time ever, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has released video footage from an eyewitness investigation exposing the slaughter of Australian Thoroughbred horses and their offspring in South Korea. The video shows cast-offs from the racing industry and other horses beaten repeatedly in the face as they’re forced into the slaughterhouse and killed for their flesh. PETA is calling on Korean officials to prosecute those who violated the country’s Animal Protection Act and urging the Korea Racing Authority (KRA) to implement a comprehensive retirement plan for unwanted horses.
South Koreans bet over AU$11 billion annually on races, and the KRA imports and breeds thousands of horses, including from Australia, to fuel the growing “sport”. But the Korean racing industry discards as many horses as it brings in, and while it “retires” over 1,600 horses per year, only about 3% end up at other equestrian facilities. Most are sent to slaughter, usually at the Nonghyup abattoir on Jeju Island, where horsemeat restaurants abound. Even a foal fathered by the stallion Street Cry – who sired Australian racing legend Winx – was killed for meat in Korea.
At Nonghyup, the investigators were able to film and identify 22 horses formerly used for racing. Three of them were from Australia, including Seungja Yechan (“Praise the Winner”), son of Medaglia d’Oro; Dynamic Tank, son of Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown; and Road to Warrior. All the Australian horses identified had been purchased by Korean buyers at auctions held on the Gold Coast.
The investigation shows horses shaking in fear as they arrive at the slaughterhouse, many covered with mud and burrs, some bleeding, and one with a leg wrap, whom investigators confirmed had come straight from the racetrack. Workers beat horses to get them to enter the slaughterhouse. A 3-year-old filly was struck repeatedly in the face, and two mares were beaten for almost three minutes straight. These are violations of the South Korean Animal Protection Act. Eyewitnesses also filmed a frightened Thoroughbred named Air Blade, whose companion, filly Royal River, was killed and hoisted by one foot right in front of him – also a violation of the Animal Protection Act. Air Blade was slaughtered next.
“If the KRA redirected just a tiny fraction of the profit it makes off the backs of these horses into retirement programmes, this would spare thousands of them a terrifying death,” says PETA’s Emily Rice. “The Australian racing industry can no longer sell horses to South Korea and then turn its back, knowing these animals and their offspring will end up hanging by one leg in a slaughterhouse.”
PETA – whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment” – also notes that horses with neglected injuries were found on Thoroughbred stud farms and on a filthy horsemeat farm from which one of the horses seen slaughtered at Nonghyup had come.