Very disappointing response to our horse petition

Posted on the 13th August 2021

Animal Aid is very disappointed in the government’s response to the .gov.uk petition “Introduce national limits on horse breeding”.

The petition’s goal is an end to the sickening slaughter of horses and ponies, as seen in the recent BBC Panorama exposé ‘The Dark Side of Horse Racing’.

Animal Aid has many questions about this vague, wordy and diversionary reply:

The Government says it is ‘monitoring the situation regarding the supply of foals’. We would ask what form this monitoring takes? Does this cover all breeds? How is this data gathered? How is this data informing current policy?

Defra say they have been ‘engaging with rescue and rehoming organisations…to understand their views and the possible impacts of regulating the sector’. Animal Aid would be very interested to know how many of these organisations, largely run by dedicated teams of volunteers and under increasing financial pressure, are content with the current out-of-control breeding within the equine population? Surely what these organisations need is the breeding reduced and financial assistance, not regulation. Why should the rescuers be regulated, but not those creating the tide of equines with which they must deal?

Defra’s expectation that ‘horse owners should proactively develop a plan for a horse’s end of life in order to prevent unnecessary pain and distress’ is clearly not being practised in reality. We understand that the owners whose horses were featured being killed on Panorama were unaware of the fate of their horses, despite their significant funds (and by extension, the options available to them).

Defra says ‘The key issue at stake is how well equines are cared for after they have been born, and existing protections already address this.’ We believe that anyone watching our investigation footage will see that these ‘existing protections’ are inadequate, are failing horses and leading to terrible deaths.

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