Overview of the horse racing campaign
Most people regard horse racing as a harmless sport in which the animals are willing participants who thoroughly enjoy the thrill. The truth is that, behind the scenes, lies a story of immense suffering.
Approximately 12,000 foals are born into the closely-related British and Irish racing industries each year, yet only around 40% go on to become racers. Those horses who do not make the grade may be slaughtered for meat or repeatedly change hands in a downward spiral of neglect. Of those horses who do go on to race, around 400 are raced to death every year.
The survivors are denied their freedom and pushed to their limits to serve the financial interests of trainers, owners and bookies. Because they are bred for speed, not strength, many sustain limb and other injuries and are shot.
Our ongoing research into equine fatalities revealed that around 400 horses are raced to death every year and thousands of commercial ‘failures’ are disposed of.
It is also common for horses to develop serious racing-related illnesses such as bleeding lungs and gastric ulcers. Whilst performing, they are whipped in an attempt to spur them on, which is painful and makes them fearful and distracted. In fact, the more a horse is whipped, the less likely he or she is to win the race.
Our investigations have revealed other horrors behind the scenes. The top breeding stallions are over-worked and kept isolated for years from other horses. Breeding females are subjected to an endless cycle of pregnancy that often involves the use of drugs and other artificial interventions.
Every year, horses are injured and killed in the Grand National – a deliberately hazardous race in which most horses do not even finish. Animal Aid designates the week leading up to this cruel event Horse Racing Awareness Week, staging nationwide demonstrations.
Beneath its glamorous façade, commercial horse racing is a ruthless industry motivated by financial gain and prestige. Cruelty? You can bet on it!