In Australia jumps racing is only hosted in South Australia and in Victoria, and has been under a lot of pressure and debate the last few months. With many deaths occurring in the industry, authorities put a hold on all jumps racing events to review the sport and the safety measures that are in place to protect horses. Advocates for Animals and the RSPCA have lobbied for the sport to be banned, saying that the unnecessary deaths of these magnificent animals because they are not bred to deal with the pressures of jumps racing are a form of cruelty.
Racing Victoria Ltd has recently announced the continuation of jumps racing, with certain rules being enforced. For members of the jumps racing industry the announcement was a great relief, as well as for avid horse racing enthusiasts. Humane societies continue to fight the decision, while Racing Victoria Ltd searches for regulations that could decrease the number of injuries and deaths in the sport dramatically. A number of suggestions have been made by the authorities that investigated the sport and have officially submitted recommendations to improve jumps racing.
The first recommendation on the list is to ensure that all jumps racing takes place on racecourses that are considered dead 4 or less. If jockeys realize that their horses are not in the contention to win, that their mounts are tired or are feeling in distress in any way, the horses are to be retired from the race immediately. The minimum weight for jumps racing is to be sixty-four kilograms and no more than fourteen horses are permitted to enter a racing event. It has also been recommended that the minimum distance for a jumps racing event must be three thousand two hundred meters. Racing Victoria Ltd feels that the only way to ensure the survival of jumps racing will be to convert these recommendation to stipulated rules and regulations, for the safety and welfare of these courageous horse racing athletes.
They will also be increasing the purse money for jumps racing events. It is hoped that by working together will the various organizations that are active in the industry, the 2009 racing season can be a more lucrative and safer year for everyone concerned. In any form of equestrian discipline, the welfare of horses is to be the priority of everyone involved, and Racing Victoria Ltd hopes to make a positive impact on this controversial sport and make the changes necessary to rebuild the integrity of jumps racing.