Horse Racing: Animal Welfare

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 10th June 2019.

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Photo of Gavin Shuker Gavin Shuker Independent, Luton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, what steps he is taking to reduce the number of race horses killed as a result of horse racing.

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. 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 the 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.

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