Welfare chief condemns abattoir practices shown in Panorama documentary


Open quote

The chair of racing’s Horse Welfare Board has reacted with astonishment to Panorama’s evidence, broadcast on Monday night, that many ex-racehorses have been transported from Ireland to be killed in an abattoir near Swindon.

Barry Johnson, a former president of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, also deplored the evidence shown of poor practices at the abattoir that would lead to unnecessary suffering of the horses involved.

“Some of it is pretty damning of the slaughter industry,” Johnson said last night. “The main thing is with these horses from Ireland. We have a policy for the correct euthanasia of horses when it’s in their interests to be euthanised and it clearly states, done as near to where they are, their home, as possible.”

“This transporting from Ireland to England for slaughter, I can think of no reason why you would do it.” Referring to another allegation made by Panorama, he continued: “And travelling injured horses 350 miles is appalling. I just don’t understand that.”

“We need to have better traceability and we’re striving very hard to get that. We need to tighten up on our aftercare funding and we’ve done a report on that. Now we need to bring forward the changes necessary, to apply to the lifetime of the horse.”

“Beneath the glamour of horseracing, there lies a dark side,” said presenter Darragh MacIntyre, who called for the sport to ensure its participants were treated with ‘dignity and care’ after their racing days were over. The programme included distressing images of horses about to be killed at the abattoir of Drury & Sons as well as allegations they had come from the yards of high-profile trainers, including Gordon Elliott and Gavin Cromwell, who were named.”

Mary Frances of the Moorcroft Rehabilitation Centre was shown, speaking of the funding difficulties faced by her business. “Sadly, so many of them come to us with injuries and ailments that need time and without a doubt a large amount of funding,” she told Panorama. “There is money available but there doesn’t seem to be the understanding or the desire to put the money where it is needed.”

Read more »

We say

How is it that anyone who works in or around horse racing can possibly be “astonished” that racehorses are sent to slaughter, particularly the chair of racing’s Horse Welfare Board? Come on.

Little doubt there will be much public hand wringing over the next few weeks, perhaps even months, but what, if anything, will change? Racehorses are being slaughtered at this very moment, and likely they will continue to be.

Have you noticed this? Yes, we know the Panorama programme only just aired last night, but people knew what was coming. Example. How is it that there has not been a single call from anyone within the racing fraternity to suspend owners or trainers caught sending their horses to slaughter, no matter who delivers them there? It would not eradicate it all, but it would be a major step.

Here is another idea. Horse racing is an extremely profitable sport, a £5 billion industry in the UK and Ireland followed by millions. Say 10p from every pound bet could be taken and put toward racehorse aftercare. This is hardly a revolutionary idea probably presented already, but got nowhere. As Mary Frances states, “There is money available but there doesn’t seem to be the understanding or the desire to put the money where it is needed.”

To many of us here, we say ban horse racing. It has gone on for hundreds of years. We feel its day is done in a modern society which has higher sensibilities and an increasingly raised awareness concerning cruelty to animals. Racing is not only cruel — it is deadly to horses.

Tuesday’s Horse © Fund for Horses

See also Racing’s leaders to meet on Tuesday in wake of Panorama investigation »

Featured Image: Barry Barry Johnson, Chair of the Horse Welfare Board , Britian

2 thoughts on “Welfare chief condemns abattoir practices shown in Panorama documentary”

  1. Horse racing and it’s pro-horse racing individuals are notorious for shifting blame onto everybody else, but themselves.
    This is clearly an example of that because now they are blaming the abattoirs for their bad practices instead of placing the blame where it lies: the horse racing industry and those who participate/support it.
    Billion dollar profits made off the bones, backs and lives of racehorses with no mandatory financial contribution in place going specifically to racehorse aftercare.
    The horrific plight of racehorses plays out all over the world where there are racetracks.
    Every single week in the USA and Canada there are lots of racehorses standing in kill pens.
    Recently, one of the most successful and celebrated racehorse champion, THE DEPUTY, was found in a kill pen in Dallas Texas on his way to slaughter that afternoon.
    The Deputy back in the the late 90’s made over $700,000 and the owners made millions selling him to stud.
    When our group found him he was in a dire neglectful state fighting for his life and history told us that when he wasn’t putting out champions Kentucky got rid of him.
    He was sold over and over to farms who didn’t have the money to support him and that was evident with his ribs showing and lack of weight.
    Of course the same old excuse coming from the original owners who made millions off of him that they thought he was doing fine, but never went to visit him or call to see how he was doing.
    Everything this business does is create one big unwanted racehorse mess that they expect everybody else to clean up while they blame everybody else for a problem that they themselves create.
    This multibillion dollar business has no 1-800 number that people can call when they find a racehorse at the kill pen nor does it have a “safe holding pen” for unwanted racehorses because they don’t want to spend the money.
    They only love the racehorses when they are flipping a buck for them whether that’s at the wagering coffers or into the owner or trainers pockets.
    Racehorses quickly decline under the stress of this business that takes away everything natural to them for the sole purpose of commodification and then they become just another disposable gambling chip.
    Horse racing requires the slaughterhouse because they know damn well that they have no intention of ever cleaning up their own mess – they never have.
    So I find it laughable that racing leaders are so disturbed by what they saw when they’ve known it all along.
    Their words are empty and so are their promises because they know they can never, ever furnish homes for the obscene number of racehorses who are required to fill races and their wagering coffers.
    They tout the slogans “Born to Run” when really they are “Born to be killed in a slaughterhouse” that’s after they’ve flipped a buck for just about everybody.
    This is the sad truth about this business and that’s why it needs to end.

    Liked by 2 people

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s