Animal Aid

Racing Kills Four More Horses in a Single Day

Posted 27 March 2007

The deaths of four horses yesterday – at Plumpton and Stratford racecourses – brings to 11 the number of Thoroughbreds killed by racing in just two weeks.

Animal Aid research indicates that an average of 375 horses are raced to death every year. One-third die on racecourses, while the others are destroyed as a result of training injuries, or are killed because they are no longer commercially viable. The on-course attrition rate these past 14 days is more than twice the yearly average.

The current spate of deaths began with two fatalities at the Cheltenham Festival in March. With the notorious three-day Aintree meeting due to begin on 12 April, more horses are seriously at risk.

The four horses who died yesterday are:
At Plumpton – Crusset (tendon injury) and Paradise Valley (pelvic injury) were both running in the 3.50 pm hurdle race. The state of the going was variable – ranging from ‘good-to-soft’ to ‘good-to-firm’. This meant that the surface was dangerously unpredictable.

At Stratford – Fill The Bunker fractured his pelvis while running in the 4pm handicap chase. Thirty minutes later, Peerless Motion broke his neck at the first fence while running in a chase event for novices.

As well as the four fatalities, Animal Aid is concerned about two horses who pulled up lame in the 2.50 pm Plumpton event – Private Garcia and Rosita Bay. Thomas Hardy was also pulled up lame while running in the 5.20 pm National Hunt flat event at Plumpton.

Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler

‘Deaths on British racecourses are as routine as they are unpublicised. It is racing’s dirty, brutal secret. Under normal circumstances one horse dies on course every 3 days. The period taking in the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree three-day event is the industry’s Killing Season. In these last few days we are seeing the evidence for that. We also see that the industry puts dangerous spectacle first and horse welfare nowhere. We’re calling on the public not to bet on horse racing, especially on Grand National day – racing’s showcase and the bookmakers’ most lucrative day of the year.’

More information

Notes to editors

  • For full background and interviews, contact Andrew Tyler or Dene Stansall on 01732 364546.
  • ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.
  • Images are available on request.

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