Protestors accuse Ascot Racecourse officials of ‘turning a blind eye to animal suffering’

Posted on the 10th October 2016

So many horses are dying on Ascot Racecourse, the Queen’s favourite, that representatives of nearly 140,000 people who have signed a Care2 petition demanding action, will be calling on senior officials of the Berkshire course on the last big day of the season (October 15), expecting to hear spelt out in precise terms what remedial measures are being introduced.

Press Call: 1pm on Saturday 15 October 2016

Ascot’s Flat season finale is the QIPCO British Champions Day on 15 October.

Wearing blindfolds and holding banners that state ‘Ascot Racecourse: don’t turn a blind eye to animal suffering’, protestors will line up at the main gates.

In June, representatives from Animal Aid and Care2 handed in a petition, signed by more than 100,000 people, during the Royal Ascot meeting.

Just a few hours later, the Queen’s horse, Guy Fawkes, was killed at Ascot. Twenty-eight horses have been killed at Ascot since Animal Aid launched its online database in March 2007 that records on-course horse fatalities.

In recent years, Ascot has had the worst fatality record of any flat (turf) course in Britain. And, in contrast to other dual-purpose venues, more horses have died on the flat at Ascot than over the jumps.

At the end of August, and after much prompting, Animal Aid finally received a response from Ascot’s Director of Racing and Communications. It stated: ‘We do not feel we need to conduct an enquiry’. This decision was taken even though horses have died at each of the June Royal Ascot meetings over the last five years, in addition to horses losing their lives at other events at the racecourse.

Says Animal Aid’s Horseracing Consultant, Dene Stansall:

‘It is cowardly and unacceptable for Ascot Racecourse officials to shirk their responsibilities by refusing to investigate the shocking number of horse fatalities at this course. If race horse safety was genuinely their first priority, then track authorities would not need almost 140,000 people to sign a petition demanding an inquiry into why this venue has the worst record of any flat (turf) racecourse in Britain. They need to act – before more horses lose their lives.’

Says Beth Granter of Care2:

‘Ascot Racecourse accepted the Animal Aid/ Care2 petition on the day that the Queen’s horse was shot dead as a result of injuries on the course. Over 100,000 Care2 members must not be ignored in their calls for an independent inquiry into why so many horses are dying at Ascot. The horse racing industry is cruel and puts money before animal welfare time and time again. We say to Ascot Racecourse: stop killing horses. Allow an independent inquiry and improve horse welfare now!’

Notes to editors

  • To date, more than 138,000 people have signed the petition
  • Since Animal Aid launched its online database of on-course horse deaths, Race Horse Deathwatch, 28 horses have died racing at Ascot Racecourse. Sixteen of those died on the Flat racecourse (ten during the Royal Ascot June meetings). Eleven horses have died on Ascot’s National Hunt (jump) course.

More information

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

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