SPCA Malta welcomes Animal Welfare’s position on Santa Marija races

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SPCA Malta welcomes Animal Welfare’s position on Santa Marija racesSPCA Malta has said that it welcomes Animal Welfare’s position on Santa Marija Horse Races in Gozo, saying that “the discomfort imposed on the animals is unnecessary.”

“The Animal Welfare Directorate has recently stated the Santa Marija Horse Race should be held in the early morning or late evenings and the Animal Rights Group have called for the races to be held at Xewkija’s horse racing track which has a substrate better suited to the horses.”

The races have however are being held today Saturday 15th August, starting earlier this afternoon along Republic Street in Victoria, Gozo with prizes to be presented at the end by the Minister for Gozo, Dr Anton Refalo and the Mayor of Victoria, Dr Samuel Azzopardi.

SPCA Malta said that it welcomes the Animal Welfare Director’s stand on the issue and measures being taken to ensure the animals’ welfare on site today..

“It is unnecessary for the purpose of celebrating Santa Marija to hold the event in the scorching afternoon sun and on the road when this can be moved to a cooler time of day and a surface suited to the horses,” says Mrs Sarah Decesare Dunkerley, Chief Operations Officer at SPCA Malta.

Deputy Chief Executive of World Horse Welfare, Tony Tyler commented saying, “Equine welfare must be the first consideration of any horse race organiser. Factors such as temperature, surface and the facilities available to ensure that horse can compete without undue stress or risk of injury should be uppermost in organisers mind.”

The Society draws attention to a Legal Notice that was promised in 2004 that would limit horse racing on arterial roads and calls for tangible action by law makers on the matter.

Photos Santa Marija horse races 2015 by Alain Salvary

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    2 Responses

    1. Mr.Benson says:

      Its an accident waiting to happen which will make history for Gozo Pieter

    2. Gideon Woodside says:

      I totally concur with everything that all concerned parties have said. To hold the races in the heat of the afternoon is cruel and shows no concern for animal welfare. There is an excellent, purpose built racetrack at Xewkija making the use of tarmac roads unnecessary. A tradition that inflicts anguish and distress on animals is not one that deserves our support and should not be tolerated in any civilised society.

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