People get involved in racing because they like horses and all involved as individuals or organisations are aware of their obligations under the Animal Welfare Act. Nobody in racing seeks to cause suffering to racehorses; it is wrong to say racing is cruel.
You cannot force a horse to race if it does not want to
Horses that are not well cared for would not race well
Many gallops have public access and all racecourses are accessible, it’s easy to see what’s going on and there is nothing to hide
Racing liaises closely with animal welfare organisations, including the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare, and they can, and do, attend race meetings and provide valuable feedback to the British Horseracing Authority and Racecourses. We are a signatory to the National Equine Welfare Protocol.
Welfare questions in racing include:
Care of horses
Use of the whip
Reducing Injuries and fatalities
Reducing injuries and fatalities to horses is a permanent top priority for the BHA.
Racecourses all have Veterinary Surgeons and horse ambulances to ensure rapid treatment
The Authority assesses all racecourse injuries and fatalities; Veterinary Officers oversee horse welfare on every raceday and the Course Inspectors review the facilities for horses and the racing surface at each racecourse.
Racecourses, the British Horseracing Authority, and people in racing all work through day to day improvements and longer term research to reduce injury
Consequently the number of fatalities and injuries has fallen through the years.
Even the richest owners cannot overcome the current limitations of veterinary treatment of horses, especially for long bone fractures
Responsible use of the Whip
The Authority recognises the range of opinions and perceptions on the use of a whip by jockeys, both amongst racing’s participants and more widely.
It is the policy of the Authority that a jockey is required to carry a whip and its use is optional. Any use is subject to the overarching policy that jockeys must use a whip responsibly, and must not at any time abuse a horse through unacceptable use of a whip. We work closely with the Professional Jockeys Association to ensure standards are maintained.