Animal Abusers Are Escaping Criminal Charges In The Racing Industry
Details of a case where harness racing trainer Jesse Alford was caught administering dangerous substances to two horses were revealed at a Judicial Control Authority for Racing hearing this week.
Alford injected two horses with formalin, which contains formaldehyde, which can have a serious impact on a horses’ health.
SAFE spokesperson Will Appelbe said given the seriousness of the crime, the Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) should be pursuing criminal charges under the Animal Welfare Act.
"The Judicial Control Authority is run by the racing industry," said Appelbe. "It’s a kangaroo court. Serious animal cruelty belongs in a court of law."
The Judicial Control Authority for Racing hears proceedings bought by the Racing Integrity Unit and can only issue fines and disqualify people under the Racing Act. It would be up to MPI to seek criminal charges under the Animal Welfare Act.
This is the racing industry’s fourth doping case in six months. Most recently, greyhound trainer Angela Turnwald was fined and disqualified for four months after her dog Zipping Sarah tested positive for meth. MPI didn’t bother to investigate initially, but is now looking into the case.
"If horse and greyhound racing fell under normal animal welfare rules, these people would face hefty fines, possible jail time, or both."
"MPI should not be leaving the racing industry to police themselves. The mistreatment of animals is a serious offence under the Animal Welfare Act, and MPI should be pursuing criminal charges in cases like this."