Animal Aid

Cheltenham Racecourse angry over horsemeat stunt

Posted 15 May 2007

A Cheltenham racecourse official has sent Animal Aid a statement denying - contrary to media reports - that they allowed Gordon Ramsey and Janet Street-Porter permission to serve up barbecued horse meat as part of the Channel 4 programme, ‘The F Word’ (screened Tuesday, May 15). The Cheltenham official was responding to our own attack (posted on our website on May 14) which pointed out that 11 horses died at the course in just four days during the 2006 Cheltenham Festival. Two more horses died at the 2007 event, staged in March. We had also noted that the racing industry breeds far more horses than can possibly race and, in England alone, more than 2,000 “failures” are slaughtered annually for human consumption on the continent.

Whether the media had been in error or had been misled over the Cheltenham horsemeat stunt, one thing is clear: Gordon Ramsey, Janet Street-Porter and Channel 4 are guilty of indulging in a crude, pathetic, attention-seeking stunt.

Statement from Andy Clifton, Communications Manager of Cheltenham Racecourse:

"As part of the new series of the Channel 4 programme "The F Word", a stunt involving horse meat and Cheltenham Racecourse has been trailed. This item, presented by Janet Street-Porter, will apparently form part of the show due to be broadcast at 9pm on Tuesday 15th May.

The pre-publicity for the show seems to have implied that Ms Street-Porter travelled to France to buy horse meat and then brought it back, cooked it and gave or sold it to racegoers at Cheltenham racecourse. Indeed, the trailer for the programme last week showed Janet Street-Porter talking about people eating horse meat against the backdrop of Cheltenham Racecourse.

I can categorically state that to the best of our knowledge and belief, horse meat has never been prepared, sold or consumed on land owned by Cheltenham Racecourse (or any property under the control of Jockey Club Racecourses); neither would we knowingly allow that to be the case at any point in the future.

Any shots that appear in The F Word which make an association between the preparation and sale of horse meat and Cheltenham Racecourse are inaccurate and totally without our authority."

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