Animal Aid takes the lead to oppose plans to race horses on the streets of Central London

Posted on the 1st February 2017

Two companies, GAG 403 Ltd and City Racing, are currently vying in a bid to gain approval to hold horse racing on the Capital's streets.

This event is currently under discussion with racing bosses at the British Horseracing Authority.

Animal Aid strongly opposes any such events that would most certainly lead to horse deaths on the City’s streets.

The potential promoters claim this so-called Sport of Kings would be very exciting, entertaining and energetic. It is designed for a young, urban audience. They aim to get the races running as early as September this year.

The reality would be much more sinister; using horses to fuel people’s entertainment could end in disaster for the equines made to run. The unfortunate horses would be forced to compete through rowdy, drunken crowds, and racing on a surface that would be totally unsuitable. This could lead to horses breaking down and having to be destroyed on the street.

Similar street racing events, known as Palios (the most infamous being the one in Siena), take place in a number of Italian cities. Their horse death record matches that of the Grand National. In their annual races, at least 50 horses have been killed in Siena alone, since 1970. If this were to take place in London, Animal Aid believe the death toll could be even worse due to totally unfavourable racing conditions.

Animal Aid is urging supporters to write to both Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, and to Nick Rust, the Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, to express opposition to the proposal to hold racing on London’s streets. See their contact details below:

Says Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant Dene Stansall

‘This is the most serious animal welfare and rights issue facing London since the official promotion of destroying the City’s dogs at the start of World War Two. Decent London residents and the wider public of this country will not want to see horses dying in street races. This would take us back two and a half thousand years to the Circus Maximus where the entertainment was brutal and deadly. No horse deserves their life being put at serious risk. Animal Aid will challenge this proposal at every point.’

Notes to editors

  • For full background and interviews, contact Dene Stansall on 01732 364546.

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