Animal Aid holds vigil for the 175 horses killed on British racecourses in 2023


On 11th March 2024, Animal Aid held a vigil outside the British Horseracing Authority’s (BHA) doors, in memory of all the race horses who were killed on British racecourses in 2023.

*When these placards were made, 174 horses were confirmed dead last year. This number has now gone up to 175, and we estimate it could be higher.

The British Horseracing Authority has failed in its duty to protect race horses, as can be seen from the disturbing figures from last year.

Racing injuries that kill horses include broken necks, broken legs and heart attacks. The racing industry tries to excuse this suffering by claiming: “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”.

Although sports tend to have some risks, the people involved have consented to take part, whereas race horses have not – and it is simply not true that the horse racing industry has done all it can to minimise the risks to horses. At a bare minimum, the whip could be banned, jockeys that break the rules could be disqualified and their prize money confiscated; in races with large numbers of horses they should cut the number of runners; and the more dangerous obstacles should be removed. But, as we know from experience, any changes that are made to racing in Great Britain, they only come when the BHA has been put under pressure from Animal Aid’s campaigning work.

Whip offences increased by almost 50% in 2023, showing that the BHA’s consideration for welfare is simply empty rhetoric.


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