Animal rights | Horses die at MJC due to alleged negligence

A horse trainer at the Macau Jockey Club (MJC) has been fired from his job and fined HKD40,000 for negligence after two horses under his care died earlier this year.

The two horses, Lucky Rose and Oyster Romance, were bred in New Zealand and England, respectively. They had been scheduled for retirement and relocation into the “retirement stable,” but had been temporarily left under the trainer’s care.

Sources said that the horses looked “skinny” and “malnourished” by the time they were due to be transferred. The horses died shortly afterwards, one euthanized and the other unassisted.

The trainer, identified on the MJC website as K. M. Chin, was fired following an inquiry made by the company on August 6. According to a notice published on the Macau Jockey Club’s website, evidence for the inquiry was provided by the trainer in question and a veterinary surgeon at the facility.

Chin contests the cause of the horses’ death, claiming that they had become distressed after not running for several months. He denies any malpractice and has submitted an appeal to MJC.

Albano Martins, the president of local animal rights group Anima (Macau), has written a letter to the government, addressed to Secretary for Economy and Finance Lionel Leong, calling for the horse trainer in question to be permanently banned from the profession.

The letter, seen by the Times, called for the Civic and Municipal Affairs Bureau (IACM) and the Gaming Inspection and Coordination Bureau to “severely punish him [the trainer] – as the death of those animals was caused by horrible negligence – and to ban him as a trainer at the Macau Jockey Club.”

“We also expect that such a cruel act and the punishment […] can be disclosed by the Macau Government in order to help prevent similar situations.”

Martins said that there are other cases of horses dying from ill treatment in the territory.

Martins criticizes contract extension

Albano Martins

Last month, the government announced that it was renewing MJC’s horse racing concession for a six-month period to analyze a development plan submitted by the company for the site’s future.

Secretary Lionel Leong informed the public of the government’s decision just as the license for the company was due to expire. He said that the six-month period would be sufficient for the government to reach a conclusion.

MJC has posted annual losses since 2004 and has accumulated a deficit exceeding MOP4 billion.

Martins expressed his doubt yesterday that any improvements can be made to MJC during its latest renewal period.

“What can they do to improve [in the next six months] if they have been unable to improve for so many years? They don’t want horse racing, they want the land,” he said.

“That’s the only reason I can see why they are [prepared] to have such losses… the land is worth more than MOP4 billion.”

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