Animal cruelty claims quashed by racing inquiry
TOOWOOMBA racehorse trainer Michael Frappell says he is looking forward to moving on with his career after he and his staff were cleared of an animal cruelty complaint.
Mr Frappell, his father Bob Frappell and horse breaker Kevins Sims yesterday recounted the events surrounding the death of an unnamed two-year-old colt in the pool at Clifford Park Racecourse on April 10.
They appeared before a Racing Queensland inquiry, in which details of an initial anonymous complaint as well as subsequent statements were read out before Mr Frappell was given a chance to respond.
The inquiry focused on Mr Sims' use of poly pipe to hit the hindquarter of the horse as a method of coercing it to enter a swimming pool.
Former stablehand for Mr Frappell, Tess Merson, said the animal was struck up to six times before the method was abandoned.
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During that time, the inquiry heard the horse had reared up and slipped over twice, before standing again.
"Every time the horse was struck, it was a considered movement," Ms Merson said.
She said the method was abandoned in favour of the use of ropes to lead the animal "because the horse was reacting to the pipe in a pretty negative way".
A more experienced horse was also led through the pool before the young colt as a guide.
When asked of their thoughts of Ms Merson's account, Michael and Bob Frappell as well as Mr Sims agreed it was accurate.
Ms Merson said she did not witness the death of the horse in the pool.
Racing Queensland integrity regulatory unit manager Norm Torpey said the inquiry could not pinpoint the exact cause of the animal's death.
He and fellow panel members considered the accounts of 13 people in finding the actions taken by Mr Frappell and his staff were not directly linked to the death of the horse.
The inquiry determined the initial anonymous complaint received by the RSPCA was unfounded.
Little to no weight was given to subsequent accounts of the incident.
Mr Frappell said he understood the need for Racing Queensland to investigate the complaint.
However, he was angry that complaints had been made over an incident which had proven confronting for all people involved.
"We never did anything wrong in this whole incident," Mr Frappell said.
"It has been blown out of proportion by people with agendas.
"We are professional horse people, it has been proven, we have been in the industry for years."
He said he loved horses and there was no point in cruelty.
"You don't get anywhere with cruelty and we know that.
"But in saying that horses have to be shown new things and we are very good at doing that."