MEDIA RELEASE:  20 June 2017

Racehorses should be immediately removed from the Belfast Coastal Reserve following the opening of the Warrnambool Racing Club’s new sand training track.

“The opening of the new track undermines the flimsy excuses used to justify the impacts of racehorse training on threatened hooded plovers, cultural heritage sites and beachgoer safety at Belfast Coastal Reserve,” the Victorian National Parks Association’s marine and coastal coordinator Chris Smyth said today.

“There has never been a good reason for commercial horse training to happen on the Belfast Coastal Reserve’s public beaches, but now there is absolutely no excuse for it to continue.

“The Victorian National Parks Association and local community groups advocated throughout 2016 that a purpose-built training track away from the reserve was needed to get horses off the beaches.

“We welcomed government funding for the new track and now expect commercial horse training in the reserve to immediately cease,” Mr Smyth said.

There are also very good legal reasons for the horses to be removed. Legal analysis provided to the Victorian National Parks Association by Environmental Justice Australia indicates the likely unlawfulness of commercial horse training on beaches under the Crown Land (Reserves) Act and Coastal Management Act.

 

For comment

  • Chris Smyth, Victorian National Parks Association – 0407 463 594.
Racehorses churn up the sand where hooded plovers nest, disturb tiny plover chicks and nesting birds, crush eggs and damage protective nest fencing. Photo: Hooded plover chick, Glenn Ehmke
Caption: Racehorses churn up the sand where hooded plovers nest, disturb tiny plover chicks and nesting birds, crush eggs and damage protective nest fencing. Photo: Hooded plover chick, Glenn Ehmke