Ban Jump Racing
Animal Aid has been the leading advocate in campaigning to end horse racing for over two decades. As an organisation with strong public support, Animal Aid is continuing to pursue that goal with a specific campaign to ban the dangerous discipline of National Hunt (jump) racing.
Background – why jump racing should be banned
Animal Aid’s innovative campaign to ban jump racing comes from our work to expose cruel racing industry practices – from the over-breeding of foals to the dangers of training and racing, and, finally, the expelling of horses with no provision made for them at the end of their racing days. All are aspects of an animal industry that shows little respect for the animals who are in its care. The lack of protection for horses in jump racing is especially grievous and shocking.
Race horse abuse has been normalised by society over generations and through various means: its promotion and coverage on TV; radio, print and online media; live attendance as an entertainment spectacle; and as a vehicle for gambling. It is not unusual for horses injured and killed on courses to be mocked and derided by people on social media – clear proof that these animals are seen, by some, primarily as money-making machines,
Those who profit from racing do so at the expense of race horses, who suffer ill-treatment, injury and death. And jump racing is at the very heart of this major welfare concern.
Specific welfare issues related to jump racing
National Hunt (jump) racing embodies all that is wrong in the handling and management of horses by the racing industry:
- A huge death toll of National Hunt horses – estimated at over 3,000 since the year 2000
- 1 in 58 race horses are killed each season
- Jump racing destroys three times as many horses when compared to flat racing
- The demands on National Hunt horses can be so extreme that many fail to finish their races – with fatal injury to a horse being just one of those reasons
- Obstacles (fences or hurdles) are placed in front of galloping, often tired horses, which can cause them to fall, A fall, if not fatal, can cause serious injury and impact upon their long-term health
- ‘Horses carry the weight of a jockey and most often additional dead weight in the saddle. In jump racing that can be over 12 stone (over 76kg). This is at least 2 stone (12.7kg) more than horses running in flat races. Weight on a horse’s back is exhausting causing welfare issues especially when racing over long distances of 3+ miles.’
- National Hunt horses race over much longer distances than horses running in flat races, testing their stamina and pushing them beyond any distance they would naturally run over
- Racing ground conditions – often extreme e.g. heavy ground – can also cause fatal injury to horses
- Horses are brutally whipped by jockeys to push them to their physical limits
- Jockeys are allowed to whip horses more in jump races than in flat races
- Through self-regulation, the racing industry decides its own horse welfare policy which leads to dangerous and unaccountable practices – conspicuous in National Hunt racing
Animal Aid, with strong public support, stands against these practices and consequently is campaigning to Ban National Hunt (jump) Racing.