Westminster City Council Rejects Plans for City Racing

Posted on the 29th June 2017

The plans have been rejected outright and horse racing on Oxford Street will not go ahead.

After months of speculation concerning a proposal to race horses along Oxford Street in central London, the Racing Post website1 (27 June) published an article stating that Westminster City Council has rejected the plans outright and racing will not now go ahead.

As we understand it, Animal Aid was the only animal campaign group to speak out against this commercial money-making scheme. Animal Aid expressed concerns to both the media and Westminster Councillors, over what we viewed as a bizarre and grotesquely dangerous event. Two companies – City Racing and GAG 403 Ltd – were vying to get the races up and running as early as September 2017.

Animal Aid was, however, quick to speak up for the horses. In February, Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall, spoke on ITV’s London News, calling for a ban on the proposed races. At the same time, Campaign Manager, Fiona Pereira, was in immediate contact with Westminster City Councillors, in order to garner opposition to the event.

Our argument against the racing was logical, in that the proposal was unworkable and highly dangerous to both equines and humans. By being forced to gallop on a narrow artificial racing surface placed upon Oxford Street’s road, the horses were at risk from potential trauma-related injuries that could result in leg fractures, tendon strains or lameness. Additional hazards adjacent to the track were evident, with trees, glass-fronted shops and crowds of onlookers all in close proximity – whose safety we believed to be at risk should any horse veer off the designated course. We compared the proposed racing to those of the Palios in Italy, where horses are frequently killed in similar town and city races that are held annually during the summer.

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

‘Animal Aid welcomes the news that Westminster City Council has rejected the City Racing proposal to race horses along Oxford Street. Their decision is one of common sense. Animal Aid feared that horse safety, and that of the public, would have been at serious risk if the event was given a green light. We therefore took immediate action to get this stopped.’

Notes to editors

For more information contact Dene Stansall on 01732 364546

1https://www.racingpost.com/news/allez-allez-top-jockeys-could-soon-be-racing-up-the-champs-elysees/290931

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