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Posted on the 23rd January 2023
• 178 horses killed on courses in Great Britain
• 84 horses killed on courses in Ireland
• 429 whip offences were committed by jockeys
• 100 jockeys committed two or more whip offences
In 2022, 178 horses were killed as a result of racing in Great Britain. The British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) claim that “As with all elite sports and all activities involving horses, there is an element of risk. It is the responsibility of the BHA and everyone involved in the sport to ensure that we do everything possible to minimise that risk and to ensure that no injury or fatality occurs which could reasonably have been prevented” is little more than empty rhetoric, as horses continue to die at racecourses up and down the country.
As demonstrated in the Infographic above, Southwell and Newcastle Racecourses were responsible for the most equine deaths. It is important to remember that whilst we do all we can to discover the full facts about equine fatalities, the actual number of horses killed may be higher.
As we have previously reported, persistent campaigning by Animal Aid forced the BHA to undertake another review into the use of the whip in racing. In 2022, the results of the review were published and, importantly, included a ban on jockeys beating horses in the forceful forehand position. However, just as the changes were about to come into effect, the BHA gave into pressure from jockeys and did not implement that ban on this blatant cruelty. Set against the high level of breaches of the rules by jockeys – 429 breaches in 2022 – it seems that the BHA’s priority is profit over welfare. Our research discovered that 100 jockeys committed two or more offences in 2022, with one jockey breaking the rules eight times during the course of the year.
The racing industry also is out of step with public opinion. In 2022, Animal Aid commissioned polling, which found that 72% of people believe that the whip should be banned in horseracing, with the figure rising to 89% when only including those who expressed a view. The strength of public opinion should be acknowledged by the BHA and the wider racing industry, but instead, it seems content to allow the beating of innocent animals to continue.
Clearly, the BHA is not fit to have the role of protecting race horses. Animal Aid will continue to campaign for a complete ban on the whip, for the BHA to be replaced by an independent regulator and, ultimately, for an end to horse racing.
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