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Horse Racing: Animal Welfare

Question for Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

UIN 263250, tabled on 11 June 2019

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, pursuant to the Answer of 6 June 2019 to Question 259406, what further action is being taken following the meeting on 14 May 2019, in order to tackle avoidable harm to horses.

Answered on

4 July 2019

The Government is keen that the welfare needs of racehorses are well met, both during their racing lives and afterwards. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is responsible for the safety of racehorses at British racecourses and the BHA works alongside the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare to make horseracing as safe as possible. However, both I and the BHA consider that more can be done to make horseracing safer which is why I have been holding regular discussions with the BHA about this. Most recently on 14 May, I met with the BHA as well as the new independent Chair of the BHA’s newly appointed Horse Welfare Board. This was a constructive meeting where the number of fatalities of racehorses was acknowledged, and both sides agreed that further action is required to tackle avoidable harm and make the sport safer.

The Board committed to doing all it can to improve welfare outcomes. I stressed the need for the BHA to develop a robust action plan that will deliver tangible results and intend to stay in regular contact with the industry to continue to press for improvements in racehorse welfare.

The number of racehorse fatalities at UK race tracks is published annually by the British Horseracing Authority. The latest available figures are for 2018 and were published on 29 January, which can be found at https://www.britishhorseracing.com/regulation/making-horseracing-safer/.

The Government does not hold any data for 2019.

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