For A Fall
reveals crisis at the heart of horseracing
race horses are subjected to such extreme patterns of in-breeding,
training and competition that their fundamental well-being is under
threat, and with it the very foundations of the racing industry.
findings are contained in a major new report by Animal Aid, based
on a comprehensive analysis of industry data, reports in scientific
journals and commentaries by leading racing insiders.
For A Fall: the genetic time bomb at the heart of racing is
published to mark Horse Racing Awareness Week, the national campaign
group's initiative, timed to coincide with the running of the Grand
For A Fall reveals that, while many more foals than in previous
decades are produced for racing, a rapidly declining percentage
are deemed sufficiently healthy and robust to make the grade. The
failures are simply discarded.
report also shows that:
Bone fractures - once rare amongst flat racers - are now common,
as a result of widespread in-breeding for speed.
*Gastric ulcres and bleeding lungs are endemic
* Top breeding stallions are so over-worked that two of the three
most coveted males both died in 2001 from suspected exshaustion
* Breeding females are subjected to a punishing regime of artificial
treatments to control and speed up reproduction. And pressure is
building for the introduction of technologies currently prohibited
by racing's authorities. These include artificial insemination,
embryo transfer and cloning.
For A Fall points out that today's horse racing industry has
much in common with livestock production. Both are committed to
profit-driven mass output of progeny and the acceptasnce of a high
both industries there is an excessively heavy burden on breeding
stock and high levels of endemic disease and musculoskeletal injury.
The key difference is that the fate of sheep, cattle, pigs and chickens
is limited to being mass-produced, killed and eaten. They are not
also required to serve as high-performance athletes.
Animal Aid director, Andrew Taylor:
"Horse racing is embedded deep in our culture. The face the
industry presnts to the public is sentimentally upbeat. But our
new report shows that beneath the facade is a thoroughly ruthless
industry motivated by vanity and commmercial gain. Cauight in the
middle is the Thoroughbred horse - a "resiource" that
is regarded as being easily mass produced and discarded. But what
our new evidence points to is a level of exploitation that is not
only extreme and, it cannot be sustained."
For A Fall: the genetic time bomb at the heart of racing is published
Friday March 28.
pdf version can be downloaded at www.animalaid.org.uk/horsereport
or ordered in hard copy from the Animal Aid office