(Image: AAP/Vince Caligiuri)

The ABC’s recent investigation into the mistreatment of retired racehorses proved something of a tipping point for Australia. But like similar greyhound and live export revelations, the report has also led to many in the industry twisting themselves into knots to try to defend their business.

Others at [the ABC] are out there trying to ruin the lives of others, and we pay for this to happen. Alan Jones

Surprising no one, ABC critic, noted racing fan and 2GB broadcaster Alan Jones, came out swinging on his radio show and a Daily Telegraph column about the national broadcaster’s “unambiguous and biased attack on horse racing”.

He criticised the ABC’s alleged mischaracterisation of one horse’s fate, suggested activists could have provided edited footage, and went to great — often irrelevant — lengths to defend NSW Racing (all of which the ABC has responded to here).

There’s no people that look after their animals better than what the thoroughbred people do [and] to take one or two people who did the wrong thing is completely unjust. Racing NSW CEO Peter V’landys

Another of Jones’ favourite arguments: owners love their horses, and those who treat them badly are just bad apples.

I’m not sure [7.30] is particularly robust in those numbers. Racing Victoria chief executive Giles Thompson

The number of horses sent to abattoirs is still in question: neither the racing industry nor the ABC can offer a definitive number of where horses end up after they retire and go into the “broader community”. The ABC has, again, explained its numbers here.

Man’s inhumanity to man is far greater than man’s inhumanity to racehorses. Sports journalist Max Presnell

The argument that Australians are much worse to humans than animals — echoed here by Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight — falls back on the idea that people can’t care about two things at once.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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