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The spectre of death comes to Ascot
Posted 17 June 2005
The spectre of death - representing hundreds of annual equine fatalities - was spectacularly present at this year's Royal Ascot.
The eye-catching but sombre protest was to highlight the fact that around 375 horses are raced to death every year. Animal Aid has produced a report showing that 30% of these deaths occur during or immediately after a race, with the remainder of animals killed due to injuries received in training, or because they are considered to be no longer profitable.
These deaths are just the tip of the iceberg. Of the approximately 15,000 horses bred by the racing industry each year, only around one third go on to become racers. The precise fate of the 'rejects' is unclear but it is known that, while some are entered into other equestrian events, others end up as pet food, are fed to hunting hounds, or sold from owner to owner in a downward spiral of neglect. Animal Aid is calling for openness and accountability within the industry, with full details of horse deaths being made public by racing's regulatory body, the Jockey Club.
Says Animal Aid campaigner, Chris Anderson:
"We came to York to make sure that racegoers and punters find out precisely what it is they are backing. The horse racing industry deliberately conceals the horrific truth of equine suffering from the public. If people knew about the death and exploitation that goes on behind the scenes, all betting shops would go out of business."
Notes to Editors
- For more information, contact Andrew Tyler or Chris Anderson on 01732 364546.
- ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.
- Images are available on request.
- Of the roughly 5,000 horses who leave racing each year, only a small number enjoy a proper retirement. The remainder are disposed of in a similar manner to the younger horses who fail to make the grade. (See above.)
- For a general report on the horse racing industry click here.
- Around 375 horses are raced to death every year. See our horse deaths report.
- The whip is not only cruel, but also makes horses less likely to win. See our whipping report.
- View our powerful 90-second web film here.