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A parliamentary petition by the charity Animal Aid  calling for the creation of new independent welfare body to protect racehorses from abuse and death, ran from February to August 2018 and received a total of 105,361 signatures. The petition called for an independent regulatory body for horseracing welfare:

  • The British Horseracing Authority is responsible for race horse welfare. But around 200 horses die each year due to racing in Britain. We urge the government to set up an independent regulatory body, with horse welfare as its only interest, which will take meaningful action to stop horses dying.[1]

The Petitions Committee agreed on 4 September that the petition should be debated.

The Government responded to the Petition in March 2018 noting that it “does not consider that it is necessary to create a new body to protect racehorse welfare.” It highlighted the role of the British Horseracing Association in regulating the sport, and that the Animal Welfare Act 2006 protected the welfare of horses,

The British Horseracing Association is a self-regulatory body which is responsible for the governance, administration and regulation of horseracing and the wider horseracing industry in Britain. It also “leads on the development and growth of racing and prioritises the health and welfare of the sport’s participants”, including racehorse welfare:

  • The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is the Government-recognised body responsible for the regulation of horseracing. Together with the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare, BHA is a leading signatory of the National Equine Welfare Protocol.
  • British Racing employs over 6,000 people to provide constant care and attention for the 14,000 registered racehorses in training. The highest standards of horse welfare are demanded of all jockeys, trainers and racecourses and none of the approximately 1,400 fixtures held annually in Britain can take place unless key BHA equine welfare criteria have been satisfied.[2]

Further information on racehorse welfare can be found on the BHA FAQ pages.

[1]     Parliamentary Petition, Create a new independent welfare body to protect racehorses from abuse and death, 13 February 2018

[2]     BHA , Equine Health and Welfare – what we do [webpage visited 11 October 2018]


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