Horse Racing: Animal Welfare

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 12th February 2019.

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Photo of Mike Hill Mike Hill Labour, Hartlepool

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will require the British Horseracing Authority to record the numbers of horses that leave horseracing each year.

Photo of Mike Hill Mike Hill Labour, Hartlepool

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will hold discussions with representatives of the British Horseracing Authority on the compilation of information on horses that are sent (a) for breeding, (b) abroad and (c) slaughter after the finish racing.

Photo of David Rutley David Rutley Assistant Whip (HM Treasury), Government Whip

Defra is keen that the welfare needs of racehorses are well met, both during their racing lives and afterwards. I am in active discussion with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) on a range of issues relating to improving the welfare of horses in the industry, including the BHA’s programme of work on the traceability of thoroughbreds post-racing. The BHA works closely with the thoroughbred passport issuing office to record details on animal movement and career outcomes. This data includes broodmare and stallion registrations, and export certificates, to form a picture of post-racing careers. A project within the programme involves the creation of a database to track animal movements throughout their careers, including the movement out of racing, whether that be as a leisure horse, breeding horse, or otherwise. This work will continue in 2019 with the aim of producing a digital model of thoroughbred movements.

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