Thursday, 13 September 2012

13,000 Ontario horses could be euthanized, says report

FORT ERIE - With 17 racetracks in Ontario expected to close by 2013 due to the end of the Slots-at-Racetracks program, the Horse Racing Transition (HRT) Panel created by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs is predicting 13,000 horses could be euthanized.

The number of horses expected to be euthanized is concerning to local horse trainer Bill Warner, who said “the numbers just don’t make sense.”

The horse racing industry “is just like any other business,” so it doesn’t seem right to destroy these animals when they can be sold to other trainers in the U.S. or used recreationally, the trainer, who has been in the business for more than 40 years, said.

Warner said some horses who can no longer race and are not suitable for other uses are sold at public auction and can be used for meat — but the lives of many horses don’t have to end, he said.

Although he did admit “more horses will be slaughtered than in the past” because of the number of racetracks closing.

MPP Monte McNaughton, of Lambton-Kent-Middlesex, who has spoken out against Dalton McGuinty’s decision to end the Slots-at-Racetracks program on March 31 of next year, said the program provided annual payments to the horse racing industry.

One of the racetracks affected by this decision includes Fort Erie’s border oval, which will close its doors on Dec. 31 this year.

McNaughton said the HRT panel was created to work with the horse racing industry as it transitions to life after the Slots-at-Racetrack program as well as provide recommendations to the government on how to allocate transition funding and assist the industry in becoming more self-sufficient.

The panel consists of former cabinet ministers Elmer Buchanan, John Snobelen and John Wilkinson.

In an interim report, the HRT panel predicted the government’s decision to pull the plug on the Slots-at-Racetracks program will put 60,000 jobs at risk, along with the lives of 26,000 horses involved in the industry, said McNaughton.

He added that the panel predicted 13,000 of those horses will be euthanized — the panel arrived at that number by consulting with professionals in the horse-racing industry.

McNaughton said he has toured racing facilities across Ontario — making stops at Racetracks in Windsor, Sarnia and Fort Erie — and spoke with horse-racing professionals and the public.

One of the concerns raised by trainers he spoke with was that the monetary value of horses have decreased because they aren’t in high demand for racing. This decrease in value could possibly lead to the euthanization of many horses, he said.

McNaughton said he expects to see a final report from the HRT panel by the end of this month.

About the Slots-at-Racetracks program

Since 1998, Ontario Lottery and Gaming has provided $3.7 billion to the horse racing industry in Ontario through the Slots-at-Racetracks program.

About $50 million over three years in transition funding will be given to support to the industry.

The Slots-at-Racetracks program gives 20% of gross slot revenue, shared equally by the track operator and those involved with running horses at the respective tracks. The program will end on March 31, 2013.

No comments:

Post a comment

You only need to enter your comment once! Comments will appear once they have been moderated. This is so as to stop the would-be comedian who has been spamming the comments here with inane and often offensive remarks. You know who you are!

Related Posts with Thumbnails