Animal Aid

Wetherby Racecourse Death Toll Rises to Eleven

Posted 3 November 2009

Following the deaths of four horses at Wetherby Racecourse on 14 October, the course was given the green light to continue racing last weekend by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). The decision was supported by the Wetherby Racecourse Chief Executive, Jonjo Sanderson, and the RSPCA's Equine Consultant, David Muir.

Yet despite their assurances that the course was fit for racing, 5 year old race horse Fell Pack became the eleventh victim at the West Yorkshire course this year - from just seven days of racing. Three horses perished on 26 April and with the subsequent deaths, Wetherby now has the worst record for equine victims of any British racecourse in recent years.

Fell Pack was killed in the 1.10 pm 'Hold Your Christmas Party Here' Novice Hurdle race on the afternoon of Saturday 31st October, after falling at the final obstacle.

The likelihood of injuries and fatalities at Wetherby Racecourse had been flagged up by Animal Aid, due to our concerns about the condition of the ground and drainage issues, following the widening of the adjacent A1 in 2007. Our Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall, contacted the RSPCA’s equine expert, David Muir, and asked him to inspect the course. Muir agreed and was present at the carnage of 14 October.

Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler said:

Further racing at Wetherby should be immediately suspended and a thorough and genuinely independent inquiry must now take place. The BHA, Wetherby Racecourse and the RSPCA have all failed in their duty to protect horses who race there, and tragically Fell Pack has been killed as a result of their neglect.

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