Horse Racing: Animal Welfare

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 16th April 2019.

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Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns Conservative, Morley and Outwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, if he will bring forward proposals to ban (a) starting stalls and (b) other forms of dangerous equipment in horse racing.

Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns Conservative, Morley and Outwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to limit or reduce the number of fatalities in horse racing.

Photo of Andrea Jenkyns Andrea Jenkyns Conservative, Morley and Outwood

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what recent discussions he had with whom on ensuring that jockeys follow guidelines in respect of the use of the whip in horseracing; and if he will make a statement.

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

The Government is keen that the welfare needs of racehorses are well met, both during their racing lives and afterwards and any racehorse fatality is one too many. We are in regular discussions with the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), who are responsible for safety at racetracks, about how we can look at ways in which we can make horseracing safer and further reduce fatalities at tracks.

The Government considers that whilst the BHA have made improvements to the welfare of racehorses, there is still more work to be done. That is why I will be meeting with the BHA soon, and pressing them for an action plan on improving the safety at starting stalls, and safety relating to other equipment. There are strict rules around the use of whip with stiff penalties for those riders who breach them. The Animal Welfare Act 2006 makes it an offence for anyone to cause unnecessary suffering to an animal and this includes racehorses on racetracks.

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