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9th Dec, 2021

Group wants racecourse to be closed

Worcester Editorial 26th Jun, 2015 Updated: 19th Oct, 2016

ANIMAL rights campaigners have reiterated their calls for Worcester Racecourse to be shut after another horse died there at the weekend.

Captain Knock, a 12-year-old gelding, had to be destroyed after falling on Sunday (June 21) and breaking his foreleg during a race.

Worcestershire Vegans & Veggies (WVV’s) are pushing for the grounds to be turned into another amenity for the city such as a park.

This latest passing follows that of Bathwick Man, who died earlier this month, bringing the total number of horses to die at the racecourse to 33 in five years.

Ronald Lee, WVV’s communications officer, said: “It is outrageous horse racing is continuing to take place at Worcester, which is now one of the most dangerous in the country for horses.

“The problem isn’t exclusive to Worcester, however, as about 400 horses who are entered into races each season die from their injuries on the courses or in training or are killed because they are considered of no further commercial value.

“Thousands more are slaughtered annually in the UK and Ireland, after failing to make the grade as racers or when their racing days are over.

“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.”

Susannah Gill, director of external affairs at the Arena Racing Company, said the safety and wellbeing of the horses which ran at the race course was the main priority.

There are 90,000 runners each year and the average fatality rate is just 0.2 per cent. This has decreased by 33 per cent in the last 15 years.

She said: “Equine welfare is a top priority at Worcester Racecourse as it is at all British racecourses.

“The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is the Government recognised body responsible for the regulation of horseracing, together with recognised welfare charities the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare, ensures the highest standards of horse welfare are demanded of all jockeys, trainers and racecourses and far exceed those prescribed by animal welfare legislation.

“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.

“Worcestershire Vegans & Veggies is not a welfare organisation, nor are they a charity.

“Their stated aim to see the demise of horseracing would have disastrous consequences for the thoroughbred horse as a breed, as well as the rural economy in areas such as Worcestershire.”

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