Located in Berkshire, England, Ascot is one of the most renowned racecourses in the UK. Opened in 1711, it now stages 26 days of racing throughout the year as well as jump racing events. Unfortunately, this iconic racecourse is also one of the most dangerous and deadly sites for horses racing on the flat.
A Care2 petition launched on the case points out that horse deaths have been reported at the June Royal Ascot meeting for the last four years. As they are pushed to the very limits of their capabilities for human entertainment, racing horses suffer major injuries “that lead to them being destroyed.”
According to Race Horse Death Watch, some of the causes of the deaths at Ascot included injuries such as fractured pasterns, cannon bones, or pelvises, broken or fractured legs, and fractured fetlocks. In a couple of the recorded cases, the horses who were not injured simply collapsed and died after the race.
Since the start of Race Horse Death Watch in 2007, 1,652 racehorses have died in 4,008 days. Horse racing is full of myths aimed at making us see it as glamorous and perfectly good for the horses themselves. The reality is very different.
“After 2014’s shameful Royal race meeting it would have been expected that Ascot would do all it possibly could to avoid further deaths,” said Dene Stansall, Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant. “Yet, this appears not to be the case. Not only have we witnessed a fatal injury to a horse in the presence of the Queen but, shockingly, abuse with the whip by jockeys with what a leading racing journalist recently described as ‘a win at all costs’ approach. It is time the welfare of race horses was independently reviewed and concerted action taken to stop horses suffering.”
Racehorse fatalities are viewed as “side effects” of training and competitions – but the competitions are in no way worth those many deaths suffered every year by animals pushed to their physical limits. The management at Ascot has to finally implement common-sense measures to make racing less dangerous for the animals.
Click here to sign a petition for Royal Ascot to improve horse welfare!
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