Australian racing industry operators have abandoned previously top-secret plans to trial cat races in their bid to address allegations of cruelty and ongoing controversies about the treatment of retired racehorses and greyhounds.
Sources within the thoroughbred racing industry said the trial had been stopped just days before news broke of the latest scandal over the treatment of retired racehorses.
“There have been rumblings within both thoroughbred and greyhound racing for decades about the activities of some rogue operators,” the source said.
“But when the scandal about live baiting and the killing of unsuccessful or retired greyhounds broke in 2015, a few of us put our heads together to come up with a possible solution.
“We knew full well that racehorses were being subjected to the same sort of cruel treatment dished out to the dishlickers.
“But it’s taken a few years for that scandal to break, as it did this week with reports of the mistreatment of racehorses during their slaughter for human consumption or pet food.
“In the meantime a few of us in the greyhound racing industry reached out to some major players in thoroughbred racing to see if we could work out an answer to what we knew was a problem that wasn’t going away.
“We got together and decided to see if we could make cat racing a feasible and sustainable industry so we could stop using horses and greyhounds entirely.
“It was a very attractive idea. After all cats are too small to carry jockeys so there’s a cost saving immediately.
“Also they don’t need stable hands because they groom and look after themselves, and they bury their own shit so there’s no more blowfly problem around the stables.
“Unfortunately, the independent nature of cats proved the Achilles’ heel in our plan.
“The buggers took no notice of trainers. They wandered wherever they liked on or off the track, they’d lie down and rest or even sleep if they felt like it (main picture), so races could take hours, sometimes days, to run.
“While we’ve abandoned the cat racing idea we’re still pursuing an alternative.
“I can’t divulge any details just yet except to say I’m glad emus are flightless birds,” the source said.