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Thousands of ex-racehorses being sent to slaughterhouses, BBC investigation claims

An investigation for BBC1’s Panorama, to be broadcast on Monday evening, will claim that “thousands” of ex-racehorses – “most, but not all” of which were previously in training in Ireland – are being sent for slaughter in British abattoirs every year.

The programme, titled The Dark Side Of Horse Racing, is based on footage supplied by the animal rights group Animal Aid, which campaigns for an outright ban on horse racing and an end to the slaughter of animals for food. The group planted cameras in an abattoir run by F Drury & Sons, which is licensed to slaughter horses, and claims to have captured “dozens of former racehorses being slaughtered, the majority from Ireland”.

Panorama’s The Dark Side Of Horse Racing will claim that ‘at least 4,000 racehorses have been slaughtered in abattoirs since 2019’. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/PA

These included three horses that were previously in the care of leading trainer Gordon Elliott, who is currently banned from racing after being pictured sitting on a dead horse on his gallops.

Elliott tells the programme that “none of those animals were sent by me to the abattoir”, while also saying that two – High Expectations and Kiss Me Kayf – were sent to a horse dealer “to be rehomed if possible, and if not, to be humanely euthanised in line with the regulations”. 

The Guardian

Veterinary experts have offered their views, outlining concerns about the manner of slaughter, as well as the transport of horses, especially those with potential injuries.

Animal Aid spokesman Dene Stansall said: “When we looked at the footage, we were astounded at the sheer volume of young thoroughbreds.”

Source: The Guardian and The Evening Standard