Cans of Horsielicious

Cans of Horsielicious

It's time for the horseracing industry to spend some of its "magic millions" to stop thousands of thoroughbreds ending up as dog food, animal activists say.

Up to 50 protesters, including one dressed as a butcher and drenched in fake blood, will greet racegoers with "horsielicious" cans of dog food at the main entrance of the Gold Coast's Magic Millions Carnival on Saturday.

Brisbane shoppers got a taste of what's to come when six activists protested at King George Square on Thursday.

The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses (CPR) campaign director Elio Celotto says they want to draw attention to the dark side of the racing industry and build public pressure for a national retirement plan for ex-race horses.

Mr Celotto says the CPR understands from studies and its own research that about 15,000 race horses end up at the knackery every year.

This figure includes not only ex-race horses but also a surplus of foals bred for the industry, he says.

He also says a large number of young, discarded racehorses are exported for human consumption to countries such as Belgium and Japan.

"They breed them and try them out and if they're no good they get rid of them," Mr Celotto told AAP.

"Almost half of them don't get to race.

"It's an industry for the last 200 years that has pretty much done what it's wanted to and now it's time to make it accountable."

The CPR is urging the Australian Racing Board to back a plan for the industry to commit one per cent of its annual betting turnover, estimated to be $143 million, to saving racehorses from slaughter.

A spokesman for the board says stopping retired racehorses from ending up in a knackery is one of its priorities.

However, he disputed the CPR's figures, which he said were misleading.

He said the board has begun surveying trainers to establish how many ex-racehorses a year end up in cans and is expected to have figures in about six months.

"We are seriously looking at the retirement of racehorses and have set up committees in states such as Victoria to tackle this," he said.

AAP