Animal Aid

Race industry regulator attacked for leniency in horse abuse case

Posted 17 May 2010

Animal Aid has accused the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) of being 'more interested in concealing industry failings than acting responsibly in cases of Thoroughbred exploitation and abuse'. The allegation follows the lenient treatment by a BHA disciplinary panel of a horse trainer who deliberately deprived the race horse Strategic Plan of water for 52 hours.

Withholding the water was an attempt by trainer Laura Young to reduce bleeding in the lungs during a race, for which Strategic Plan was also illicitly given the drug Tranexamic acid.

Despite the fact that Mrs Young is an experienced horse trainer, who at the time had 14 Thoroughbreds in her charge, the BHA panel concluded that she acted out of 'ignorance' rather than self-interest. Furthermore, she is being allowed to pay off her modest £1,000 fine in ten instalments.

In a letter to BHA chief executive Nic Coward, Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler, declared: 'Bleeding from the lungs (exercise-induced pulmonary haemorrhage) is, as you will know, an endemic problem within racing. It is time, in our view, that the source of this condition was properly addressed and remedies applied. Certainly, no horse prone to this serious condition should be risked in a race. To deprive an afflicted horse of water merely adds insult to the original injury.'

Animal Aid has also written to the RSPCA's chief executive, Mark Watts, calling for a full investigation of the Strategic Plan case, with a view to bringing a prosecution under the 2006 Animal Welfare Act.

Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler:

'For an experienced horse trainer to deliberately deprive a horse of water for 52 hours is unforgivable. That the industry's regulator should treat the case with such leniency, while making unwarranted excuses for the perpetrator, shows just how out of touch it is with public sentiment, let alone common decency.'

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