NSW Racing Minister and Tamworth MP Kevin Anderson has ordered a full-scale investigation into claims race horses were sent to two local knackeries in contravention of the state's racing rules.
Footage released by the Farm Transparency Project showed 12 identified thoroughbreds and other racehorses being sent for slaughter at two knackeries, including one at Willow Tree and another in the New England.
NSW has the toughest laws regarding the treatment of retired racehorses in the country, and Racing NSW prohibits horses from being sent to a knackery after they are retired.
"We are the only state in the country that bans sending horses to knackeries and you can rest assured Racing NSW will conduct a thorough investigation of this incident," Mr Anderson told the Leader.
"If a person or persons are found to have breached these regulations they will be prosecuted.
"Racing NSW takes animal welfare very seriously and this matter will be treated accordingly."
The release of Farm Transparency Project's footage comes after an ABC story in October 2019, which found healthy Australian racehorses were being sent to slaughterhouses each year.
Under its tough regulations, Racing NSW requires all trainers to keep a record of what happens to racehorses after they retire.
However, activist groups claim problems arise in tracking horses when they are moved on, sometimes several times.
"If there is a loophole in the system, I will do everything I can to ensure that loophole is closed and those who flout the rules will be prosecuted," Mr Anderson said.
"Whether it is changing legislation to ensure the loopholes remain closed or whatever the course of action is, I will do whatever I need to ensure any loopholes are stamped out."
NSW Agriculture Minister and Northern Tablelands MP Adam Marshall has also spoken out, and said the knackeries had not done anything wrong.
Rather, he said there were legal implications surrounding the potentially illegally obtained footage.
"Personally I can't wait for the authorities to catch up with these grubs," Mr Marshall said.
"By their own admission, the have trespassed into this facility and filmed something that is completely legal in NSW.
"The irony of it is, they done something that is illegal, reckless and irresponsible just to film something that is legal.
"If they disagree with humanely slaughtering animals then respect their views, but in my opinion, you do nothing to further your cause when you do something like this, which puts yourself and everyone in that facility at risk."