Britain’s Animal Aid maintains a running list of Thoroughbreds killed on British tracks. It does so because, out of self-preservation, the racing people won’t. Sure, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) generously tells us “about 2 in every thousand runners are fatalities,” but not who they are and where they happen. Putting names and faces to the ugly stats doesn’t make for good business. So Animal Aid helps fill the void. The “Race Horse Death Watch” reports 117 kills in 2013 and 143 in 2012 – though Animal Aid believes these numbers, for obvious reasons, are understated by some 30%.
The BHA replies:
“No, racing is not cruel. Those in racing care about horses and provide excellent care.”
“Horses are herd animals and galloping alongside one another is a natural thing they do.”
“A person can only ask a horse to participate, he cannot make it race if it does not want to.”
“We do not kill horses for sport. Fatal injuries in racing do occur and, as in any sport, there is an element of risk for the participants.”
“Horses are like any athlete, they can pick up injuries whilst relaxing, whilst training and competing.”