An online petition is calling on President Cyril Ramaphosa to allow horse racing to continue under current lockdown rules. The petition creator argues that if the horse racing industry is not allowed to continue, the repercussions will be dire. Thousands of horses could risk being euthanised.
Champion race horse trainer Jonathan Snaith, creator of the petition, argues that the closure of the races, if continued longer, may result in the industry needing to permanently close which will have further knock-on effects.
“Failure to resume racing now will see this industry close its doors forever along with the loss of 60 000 jobs (at least 750 000 beneficiaries facing poverty) and an international media disaster for South Africa of the euthanasia of thousands of horses,” writes Snaith in the petition.
Snaith requests that the races be reopened under strict conditions where 65 people may gather on a 100 hectare property with around 15 minutes of actual racing per day, and without any on-course spectators.
Since starting the petition two days ago, it has garnered over 20 000 signatures.
On April 22, The National Horseracing Authority submitted a proposal to the President of the Republic of South Africa, the National Coronavirus Command Council, the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to allow horseracing to continue ‘behind closed doors’.
They motivate that horse racing poses a negligible threat to public health. The decision to reopen the races will preserve jobs from the most vulnerable sectors of our society. It can contribute to resurrecting the economy in a safe and controlled manner; and can mitigate against a major animal welfare crisis facing the industry.
Here is the link to the petition.