Cheltenham heads list of courses where most animals die, and jump racing carries most risk
A thousand horses have died on Britain’s racecourses since 2007, according to records kept by an animal rights organisation. Animal Aid’s “Death Watch” list reached the 1,000 mark late last month when a seven-year-old gelding, Hired Hand, was destroyed at Bangor-on-Dee, Clwyd, after being injured in a race.
An analysis of Animal Aid’s figures shows that the racecourses where most horses have died since the list was started are: Cheltenham (47), Sedgefield (44), Market Rasen (40), Newton Abbot (32) and Aintree (31).
However the true number of deaths is suspected to be significantly higher. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) confirmed in response to a recent parliamentary question that there were 162 more equine fatalities over the past three years than Animal Aid has recorded.
trainers and owners are increasingly requesting the destruction of horses at the racecourse
The National Trainers Federation reported in January that “trainers and owners are increasingly requesting the destruction of horses at the racecourse”. This is known as elective euthanasia and is not recorded as part of the BHA’s data. Animal Aid said the discrepancies showed that there was a need for the BHA to publish a full account of every racecourse death, specifying where each death occurred and the injury or medical condition that brought it about.
“If horses are to die so that someone can enjoy a bet, punters should be aware of a basic truth,” said Dene Stansall, Animal Aid’s horseracing consultant. “And this is that betting on horses means horses will suffer and die.”
Some 17,500 horses ran on Britain’s racecourses last year and of these around 6,600 – around 38% of the total – are estimated to have participated in jump racing. Continue reading >>
Horse racing is not deadly in the UK alone.
The RSCPA (SA) in Australia reports that:
“In the past six years, well over 60 jumps horses have died in South Australia and Victoria.
Last year three jumps horses died in South Australia – two of them at Oakbank.”
Australia’s Fallen Racehorses (http://fallenracehorsesaustralia.blogspot.com/) reports one such death.
“Day one of the yearly Warrnambool carnival, and six year old gelding Pride of Westbury (AUS) became a casualty when he hit the last hurdle and fell. He suffered a broken neck and died instantly, 6th of May, 2009.”