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29 August 2011 - The Fourth Jumps Horse Killed this Season in the Name of Entertainment      

The Fourth Jumps Horse Killed this Season in the Name of Entertainment

29 August, 2011                                              

The death of Fergus McIver yesterday at the $200,000 Grand National Steeplechase in Sandown, Victoria marks the fourth death in jumps racing for Victoria this season.

After a faulty jump at the last hurdle, Fergus McIver was reported to have died even before the veterinarian arrived.

The Government has announced it will continue to support Racing Victoria with its review due in two years. 

“A review in two years will be too late”, said HSI Program Officer, Melanie Dulfer-Hyamsunfortunately, results are showing the recently improved standards are not preventing jump horse deaths.”

We are staggered that the Government continues to support Racing Victoria in their decision to maintain such lax regulations, despite their prior support for a temporary ban in 2009, after only three deaths.”

Dulfer-Hyams concluded that, “HSI wants to see the sport immediately banned, as four deaths clearly prove the complete inability of the industry to properly protect these unfortunate animals.


The 2011 Victorian jumps racing season has now seen four deaths -

  • Fergus McIver died after a faulty jump at the Grand National Steeplechase in Sandown, August 28.
  • Shine the Armour fell and died instantly on the first race of the opening day of the Grand Annual Steeplechase carnival, Warrnambool, May 3.
  • Squire Rex was euthanised after falling on a jump at a trial race in Cranbourne, April 19.
  • Casa Boy was euthanised following injuries suffered at the beginning of the Victorian Jumps season on April 4th in Warrnambool.

Following a spate of incidents where three horses died during the Warrnambool Carnival in May 2009, Racing Victoria suspended jumps racing for two weeks while the industry pondered its fate. Assailed by pressure from within the jumps racing fraternity, Racing Victoria decided to allow it to continue, and announced a number of regulations that they claimed would make the sport ‘less hazardous’.

In early 2010, Victorian Racing Minister Rob Hulls stated his concern in the media over the welfare of horses in jumps racing, and commented that the death count was making it increasingly unsustainable. Ultimately, decisions on the future of jumps racing have been left to Racing Victoria, and thus this deadly pursuit, under the guise of sport, continues.

The conclusion of the 2010 jumps racing season has coincided with a review by the Racing Victoria Board. Unfortunately, despite continued deaths in the 2010 season and a decision in January 2010 to end jumps races in Victoria after the current season, the Board determined to continue with a three year program of hurdle racing and a one year program for next year’s steeplechase racing season, both subject to Key Performance Indicators (KPI).

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