Animal Welfare In Irish Horse Industry To Be Highlighted In BBC Special Tonight

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Image by Christel SAGNIEZ from Pixabay

Animal Welfare issues in the horse racing sector will be the subject of a Panorama Special on BBC tonight. 

Approximately 4,000 horses slaughtered in British and Irish abattoirs since 2019 included some horses that had been very successful in their racing careers.

The Panorama programme, which airs tonight, includes footage filmed inside one of the UK’s biggest abattoirs, Drury and Sons, by campaign group Animal Aid. Filming took place at the end of 2019 and the start of 2020.

Veterinary expert Hannah Donovan said making animals, some of which were carrying career-ending injuries, travel 560km to an abbatoir was “not a humane process”. Dr Donovan said: “The bottom line is these horses, if they are to be euthanised, could and should be euthanised at home.  Drury and Sons told Panorama:. All horses are humanely destroyed and on occasions where issues do occur, we take swift action to review and rectify.” 

British regulations insist that every effort should be made to ensure a rapid death, but footage showed a number of horses shot from a distance. The regulations also state horses should not be killed in sight of each other. The footage recorded horses being shot together 26 times over the four days of filming.  

Horse Racing Ireland, did not respond to Panorama’s questions regarding the number of racehorses being slaughtered. The Department of Agriculture, which is responsible for animal welfare in Ireland has yet to comment on the matter.