British Racing is among the world’s best regulated animal activities. The 14,000 horses registered in training at any one time enjoy a quality of life virtually unsurpassed by any other domesticated animal. As an industry, over 6,500 people are employed to provide constant care and attention for these horses.
British Racing is committed to providing the best possible standards of veterinary care for its horses and has invested, via the Horserace Betting Levy Board, over £27 million since 2000 in Veterinary Research and Education. The sport’s substantial investment in Veterinary Research and Education brings benefits for all breeds of horse in Britain, not just racehorses and other performance horses.
The British Horseracing Authority is the Government recognised body responsible for the regulation of horseracing and continues to work to further minimise risk for racehorses. High standards of horse welfare are demanded of all racecourses. None of the 1,450 fixtures held annually in Britain can take place unless key BHA welfare criteria have been satisfied.
British Racing is open and transparent about the risks involved. Despite the best efforts of all involved, as with participation in any sport involving speed and athleticism, there remains an inherent risk of injury. In recent years the average number of runners is in excess of 90,000. Over the last 15 years, the equine fatality rate in British Racing has fallen by one-third (from 0.3% to 0.2% of runners).
A study by Liverpool University found that 62% of “traumatic injuries” (ranging from grazes to fractures) suffered by a sample of leisure and competition horses occurred when turned out in the field, compared to only 13% during ridden exercise. The British Horse Society also estimates that there are over 3,000 road accidents annually involving horses.
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