The 2023 Epsom Derby – a trail of failure in its wake

Posted on the 24th May 2023

Saturday 3rd June sees 2023’s young generation of equine stars line up in the Epsom Derby. To the industry, it’s a race of great expectations and glory, representing the pinnacle of Thoroughbred horse breeding and achievement on the racecourse. These three-year-old animals are a select few who have reached the heights of human design and desire for the ‘ultimate race horse’.

These wunderkind are the exception – in their wake lay thousands of their failed peers. Each one speculatively bred for financial gain, but most never win enough to cover the costs of keeping them, and many never see a racecourse. Consequently, the racing industry expels them with such rapidity and in vast numbers that thousands of the ‘failures’ will have their young lives prematurely ended, killed by the hands of a slaughterman – the industry’s ‘wastage’.

The Epsom Derby is an international event. The global racing industry and its regulators across the world are failing horses on a huge scale by routine use and abuse, in addition to irresponsible and unregulated behaviours. Over-breeding, deaths on and off racecourses, the use of the whip and other artificial racing aids, the flux of legal and illegal medication, and the lack of retirement provision for horses all add up to an industry built and run on innate suffering.

Says Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall:

‘The Derby is a veil to the reality of horse racing. It may represent particular equine attributes to run fast and stay to the finish line, but beyond that, there is nothing to celebrate. The industry’s ‘wastage’ figures should be the headline after the race is run. It is a spectacle of human desire built on animal exploitation, where the winner is never the horse.’

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