RSPCA Call For Numbers Of Horse Deaths To Reduce

RSPCA Call For Numbers Of Horse Deaths To Reduce

The RSPCA (Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) have underlined the need for urgent action in racing to tackle the number of deaths in the sport.

The charity described the published figure of 201 deaths from just over 93,000 runners last year simply as "not acceptable" - which was a rise in the total number of fatalities for the first time in five years.

There were 65 deaths on the Flat - a further 47 from the previous year, with 137 jump racing fatalities, seventeen more than the overall figure from twelve months ago.

This showed a rate of 0.22 percent which is exactly the same as 2014 and see's the highest level recorded for four years, figures that have certainly rattled the Charity.

A statement by the RSPCA read: "The number of fatalities are not acceptable and this requires urgent action.

"We await the final composition of the industry-wide welfare body together with the proposed changes they will consider."We see the Cheltenham initiative as a starting point to visit the particular concerns of the festival, but much more needs to be done in racing overall.

"The RSPCA will continue to monitor all aspects of racehorse welfare and maintain our position as a critical observer of the industry, with the sole aim of bettering horse welfare wherever possible.

"The BHA will be assessing data, including month-by-month statistics, to discover whether the exceptionally dry and hot summer is among the factors which impacted the increase in fatalities last year.

(Credit: Racing Post) A BHA spokesman responded: "It is clear from all the work that the BHA and the sport is undertaking right now that we don't accept the current level of fatalities.

"Our whole approach is based on reducing the level of risk for our horses and riders. This is a priority for the industry and we must further raise our ambitions and build on the progress of the last 20 years.

"Working with the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare will be an important part of our plans on this front."

Last year proved a good one for the sport, as the death rate was at a low of 0.18 percent, and when looking further in depth into this research, over the last five years collectively the fatality rate remains at 0.2 percent - which stands as the lowest on record.

The BHA produced a 67-page report into the six on-course fatalities at the Cheltenham Festival in March, containing 17 recommendations for all of Cheltenham's fixtures and across jump racing.

The RSPCA described the report as a "starting point to visit the particular concerns of the festival", but feels much more needs to be done to reduce the number of fatalities in the sport in general.