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29th Jun, 2022

Group calls for racing to be halted

Worcester Editorial 6th Aug, 2014 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

A DESPERATE plea to close the city’s racecourse has been made after three horses died in less than a fortnight.

Worcester Vegans and Veggies issued a rallying cry to shut down the Pitchcroft course after Casey Ryback, Italian Legace and Secret Beau were all fatally injured while racing between July 16 and 29.

A total of 36 horses have died since 2007, making Worcester’s track the sixth most deadly out of 60 across the country and four have lost their lives this year.

Ronald Lee, communications officer for Worcester Vegans and Veggies, said: “The racecourse has always been one of the worst in the country for horses being killed.

“But now it appears to have got worse than ever with these three horses losing their lives in rapid succession. We want it closed as soon as possible to prevent further suffering and slaughter.

“We would like the racecourse turned into a positive and useful amenity, such as a public park or an area for human sporting activity, so no horse can ever be killed there again.

“Ordinary people can help put an end to this horrific situation by not attending or betting on horse racing, so this appalling death-industry fades away through lack of financial support.

“Worcester Vegans and Veggies is dedicated to bringing about a more humane society, both in terms of the food we eat and how animals are treated in general, which is why are campaigning for the closure of Worcester Racecourse.”

The course is owned by Arena Racing Company, who also have control of 14 other tracks nationwide.

Susannah Gill, director of external affairs at the company, said: “Equine welfare is a top priority at Worcester Racecourse, as it is at all British racecourse. Of course we regret any serious incidents that occur and always express our sympathies to the connections of the horse concerned.

“The highest standards of horse welfare are demanded of all jockeys, trainers and racecourses and none of the 1,450 fixtures held annually in Britain can take place unless key British Horseracing Authority (BHA) equine welfare criteria has been satisfied.

“As with any equine activity, racing is a sport that carries risk, and as with any equine activity that risk can never be entirely eliminated.

“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, a figure which has decreased by 33 per cent in the last 15 years.”

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