Horse Racing

Many people regard horse racing as a harmless sport in which the animals are willing participants who thoroughly enjoy the thrill. The truth is that behind the scenes lies a story of immense suffering.


Animal Aid’s main campaigning goals are: force the racing authorities to publish details of on-course Thoroughbred deaths (currently running at around 200 a year); an end to the Grand National; proper provision for horses when their racing days are over; and a ban on the whip.

We want to see an end to all commercial racing, because it is an intrinsically cruel and exploitative industry that sends around 1,000 horses each year to be slaughtered. We believe the way forward is to encourage the public to withdraw their support for racing, rather than to look to the government to enforce a unilateral racing ban. After many years of exposing the truth about a heavily romanticised industry, Animal Aid has succeeded in changing the public perception and media coverage of racing.

How can I help?

  • Please do not support the industry by betting on horses or attending racecourses.
  • Order an information pack
  • Spread the truth about what goes on behind racing’s glamorous façade by writing to your local newspaper and sharing our films, bulletins and resources on social media.
  • Make a donation to Animal Aid so that we can continue holding the racing industry to account.
Read more

Cheltenham Racecourse

More horses have died at Cheltenham Racecourse than any other in Britain. In 2017, twelve horses died there, four of whom were killed during the four-day Cheltenham Festival.

Read about the Cheltenham Festival

Race Horse Death Watch

Animal Aid’s Race Horse Death Watch was launched during the 2007 Cheltenham Festival, after nine horses had been killed racing at the previous years’ event. Its purpose is to expose and record every on-course thoroughbred fatality in Britain.

While we record every on-course fatality that comes to our notice, the true figures is considerably higher.

Read our annual Death Watch reports.

Read This Unsporting Life

Visit Race Horse Death Watch

Ban the whip!

Horses are the only animals who may be beaten in public for entertainment. Animal Aid has campaigned for many years to ban the whip from racing in Britain. Many jockeys repeatedly misuse the whip because, even when they are found guilty of misconduct, they still keep their riding fees and may not lose their winnings.

See more on our anti-whip campaign

Ban the Grand National

The Grand National is a deliberately hazardous race. Since 2000, 28 horses have died on the Grand National course and, over the course of the three-day meeting, 49 horses have been killed in that same period.

Key Reports and Briefings

Animal Aid continues to produce revealing and thoroughly researched reports and Briefings on a wide range of topics related to horse racing. They include the abuse of the whip in racing, breeding of race horses and the safety and welfare problems at specific racecourses.

See our key reports

Campaign news

Our work in 2018

Thanks to you, we’ve been able to achieve a lot for animals in 2018. This included persuading Natural Resources Wales to ban pheasant shooting on its land; securing the cancellation of multiple reindeer events; and...

Posted 13 Dec 2018