The Cheltenham Festival
The Cheltenham Festival is held every March and is one of racing’s most infamous events. Every year since 2002, horses have died at the festival. A total of 67 horses have lost their lives at the Festival since 2000.
Three horses died at last year’s Festival, and seven the previous year. At the root of the problem is racing’s regulator, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA). It is responsible for race horse welfare but has failed to curb the number of fatalities in racing. In 2018, the BHA announced that it would undertake a review of the deaths at the festival that year. It took the BHA nine months to produce the report, and many of the recommendations fell well short of what is needed, and, above all, failed to address key issues such as the ‘win at all costs’ mentality of many jockeys at the event, the number of obstacles or the gruelling length of some races.
It’s time for the BHA to be replaced with an independent body that would take meaningful action to stop horses from losing their lives.
- Read our report: The Cheltenham Festival – facts and figures
- See the list of horses who died at each year’s Cheltenham Festival
- Visit Race Horse Deathwatch, Animal Aid’s online database that records race horse deaths in Great Britain
- Read our response to the industry’s review of deaths at the Cheltenham Festival