Over half the public want a new welfare regulator for horse racing

Posted on the 28th September 2018

An Animal Aid-commissioned YouGov poll has found strong opposition to the way in which the racing industry treats horses.

The poll results are being released ahead of a Parliamentary Debate on race horse welfare scheduled for 15 October. The Debate came about after 105,000+ British citizens and UK residents signed a government e-petition calling for the creation of a new independent horse welfare regulator.

The YouGov poll found that:[1]

  • After being told about the number of horses who are killed each year due to horse racing, 63% of respondents support the creation of a new, independent organisation to be responsible for race horse welfare.
  • 63% of respondents support the idea of making it a requirement for the names of all race horses who die during racing each month in Britain to be reported publicly, rather than the current system of expressing deaths as a total number or percentage of times that horses have raced.
  • 74% of respondents would support the idea of race horse owners and breeders being required to pay an initial sum of money and a monthly levy fee during the race horse’s career, which would then be used to fund their future care after racing.

The poll results put further pressure on the horse racing industry’s regulator, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), which is self-regulating and is not required to report to the government on issues of race horse welfare. The BHA is also the promoter of racing and Animal Aid stresses that this role is at odds with looking after race horse welfare.

The latest poll follows another Animal Aid-commissioned YouGov poll on the whip, conducted earlier this year, which found that 68% of respondents either oppose (30%) or strongly oppose (38%) the use of the whip in racing.[2]


[1] All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2002 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken 12th – 13th September 2018. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

[2] The YouGov poll sample size was 2106 GB adults, with the fieldwork undertaken between 29th March -2nd April 2018. The survey was carried out online.

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