A Queensland abattoir at the centre of animal cruelty allegations made four reports about the condition of horses arriving at the slaughterhouse, authorities say.
They were among nine animal welfare incidents at Caboolture's Meramist Abattoir reported to the state government this year, says the Australian Department of Agriculture.
They were made before reports of racehorses being kicked, dragged, shocked and slaughtered were aired.
The other five incident reports were made by a department veterinarian there to oversee processing.
The department says the vet is required to report to the state government when "welfare non-compliance is observed and the abattoir has not taken appropriate action in a timely manner".
The federal department said the state government "may be notified of these non-compliances as required by law".
It then has "the power to investigate the issue, apply sanctions or prosecute offenders".
The details come a day after the Queensland government ordered an urgent inquiry into the treatment of retired racehorses following the ABC's 7.30 report last week.
The inquiry will be headed by retired District Court judge Terry Martin with the support of Australian Veterinary Association representative Dr Peter Reid and oversight from the Queensland Racing Integrity Commission.
It will look into regulatory and oversight arrangements for the management of retired race horses and for the operation of facilities accepting horses for slaughter.
How well existing processes for detecting, assessing, mitigating and prosecuting breaches of the welfare of retired racing horses will be examined, as will models in other states and potential changes to the tracking and welfare of retired horses.
The state opposition has criticised the QRIC's oversight of the inquiry with claims the body should have known about any alleged mistreatment.
Australian Associated Press