Racecourse horse deaths revealed

ANIMAL rights campaigners have revealed the tally of horses dying as a result of racing in Doncaster over the last five years.

Animal Aid has released a report titled Deathwatch, listing all horses which died in British racing since 2008.

It includes 23 deaths at Town Moor since January 2008.

Its online database lists three horses dying in Doncaster in February this year. They were Sir Toby Tyler, Mujamead, and Darlan.

Nationally, 143 horses died last year, says the report.

Animal Aid’s horse racing consultant, Dene Stansall, said: “This report makes for sad reading. Each of those 143 horses has an individual story to their death. Horrific limb injuries, broken necks and heart attacks are the prices horses pay for public entertainment.”

The British Horse Racing Association says Doncaster has a good recent record, with fewer than the average number of fatalities on British racecourses. There were two in 2012 and three in 2011. He added Doncaster was a ‘busy’ course with lots of fixtures and runners.

Over the five year period Doncaster had been generally in line with, or just below, the national average of fatalities per runner.

He said those who understood and worked with horses knew they were at risk of serious injury throughout their lives, either when in a field, exercising at home or racing on the track, and that would never be eliminated.

He added: “British Racing is open and transparent about the risks involved. From around 90,000 runners each year, the average fatality rate is just 0.2 per cent. In return for this small level of risk, the 14,000 horses in training at any one time are provided with levels of care and a quality of life virtually unsurpassed by any other domesticated animal.

“Welfare is the top priority. Unlike those involved in racing, Animal Aid do not have a welfare agenda.”

He described Animal Aid as ‘extremist’.