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Animal aid are in the minority

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THE letter from Animal Aid (Uttoxeter Advertiser, June 22) about deaths of horses in races claims that changes are needed in the regulation of horseracing and mentions ‘abuse of the winning horse with the whip’ in the Grand National.

Horseracing carries risks, to jockeys as well as horses. Steps have, and are, being taken to reduce risks, but that is not a reason to ban the sport.

The Government has made it clear it is satisfied with the current regulation of horseracing.

The emotive description of ‘abuse’ is wrong, it was the regulator (the British Horseracing Authority) doing its job by applying its current rules on over-use of the whip, not an abuse, that bought the issue to wider public attention. It is easy to make over-simplistic comparisons, but legal and scientific review — and discussions with welfare groups — has confirmed that the controlled use of a specific cushioned whip during a horserace is VERY different to striking a domestic animal, similar to the relative indifference team athletes feel to contact on the sport field.

Animal Aid is not an animal welfare group, they are animal rights campaigners opposed to all use of animals in sport and all leisure activities; they promote a vegan lifestyle and oppose any donation to medical charities such as Cancer Research UK because they use animals.

All their comments must be seen in this context; they are entitled to their views but these are not held by the vast majority of people in the United Kingdom.

Professor Tim Morris

Director of Equine Science and Welfare

British Horseracing Authority

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  • A Horse is a prey animal, and is unable to divorce the physical and psychological aspects of its physiology.In nature a Horse will instinctively conserve its energy for times of danger and alert,therefore Horses only run in panic. Racing exloits this flight instinct, in the recent ITV programme “Horse Power” the presenter Martin Clunes, courtesy of a horse psychologist in Dubai – revealed that all horse races are essentially artificially induced mass hysteria, the flight instinct of the Horse exploited to get them all to run hell-for-leather, on the basis that if all the others are doing it there must be an urgently good reason. They're not striving to stay at the front for love of the sport. They're doing it because they think there's something with teeth coming up fast behind. Recently in the National Press, when commenting on the whip ban debate a trainer also confirmed that," as a prey animal no Horse would push itself to those limits without some form of stimulus,which the whip provides serving to act for example as a cats claw." This is where the REAL cruelty lies in the violation of the Horses Nature, aside from the physical abuse which is often excessive. As a Veterinary Professor Mr Morris should have a full comprehensive understanding of these facts. n my opinion his comments constitute a reprehensible breach of his professional duty of care towards Horses. I am also resolute in my belief that the majority of the British Public DO NOT wish to see Horses beaten in the way that the near to collapse Bellabriggs was,at the culmination of his Grand National run.

  • "Horseracing carries risks, to jockeys as well as horses" So, how many jockeys have died?