Exactly how many horses have been killed in training? Animal Aid asks racing’s regulators

Posted on the 3rd March 2021

Following the publication of shocking images of Grand National winning trainer, Gordon Elliott, and amateur jockey, Rob James, sitting on newly dead horses, Animal Aid has written to racing’s regulators to ask how many horses die in training each year.

It was revealed that the horse in the now infamous Elliott photo was seven-year-old Morgan – owned by Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary’s Gigginstown Stud. Morgan died of an aneurysm in 2019. The name of the horse in the Rob James photo is unknown, but in a statement by James, he said the horse was a ‘five-year-old mare, who unfortunately suffered a sudden cardiac arrest’.

In addition to calling for both Elliott and James to be banned from racing for life, Animal Aid is writing to the British and Irish regulators to demand publication of the numbers of horses who die in training in Britain and Ireland each year.

Says Dene Stansall, Animal Aid’s Horseracing Consultant:

‘Aside from the obvious contempt being shown for these horses in the recent images, the question has to be: why are perfectly fit, young horses lying dead at the training grounds?

‘Animal Aid traces all on-course deaths of horses in Britain, but the details of horses who are killed in training are unknown and are hidden from the public.

‘If the regulatory boards for Britain and Ireland are to address this issue, then both need to release figures to the public regarding how many horses have died in training for the past five years, the ages of those horses and the reasons for their deaths.’

Notes for Editors

  • Animal Aid is the only organisation to publish the details of horses who die as a result of racing. Visit our website, Race Horse Deathwatch.

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