No excuses, the racing industry must act now
THE saddest thing about watching the ABC'S 7.30 expose on the disgusting mass slaughter of racehorses in abattoirs and knackeries was that, while confronting, it was not surprising.
Anyone would have been deeply disturbed by vision which revealed, in some cases, abuse - proud and graceful animals being prodded, kicked, electrocuted and even sworn at on the way to the killing floor, where some were bolted so badly they had to be shot again before they finally died.
But alleged cruelty aside, the slaughter should not have come as a surprise to anyone. Those within the racing industry knew it was coming when live baiting revelations brought greyhound racing to its knees in 2015, and the rest of us should have too.
There are simply too many horses bred on the off chance they'll find that rare and coveted level of success on the track, and carelessly cast to a potentially horrifying fate if they fail.
This is an expansive and all-encompassing crisis point, as pointed out by anyone from Gympie Turf Club president Shane Gill to Aussie sporting icon Bruce McAvaney.
There is no easy fix. But that doesn't mean there is no fix, and it's no reason to delay changes which simply must be made.
The potential solutions are out there, but Australian racing and the public which so admires it must unite to find the best answers.
This year it won't be the race that stops the nation. The nation was stopped last Thursday night, when the full reality of what happens in this industry finally breached the surface.
As Makybe Diva's trainer Lee Freedman tweeted, "If we don't make real changes the court of public opinion will bury racing".
That is the next reality which faces this sport unless the change begins right now.