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A BBC Panorama investigation has reported that thousands of racehorses are being sent to slaughterhouses in Britain and Ireland.
Covert recordings have shown that rules designed to protect horses from cruel deaths have been regularly ignored by one of the UK’s biggest abattoirs.
The BBC article on the investigation says that some of the slaughtered animals were once owned and trained by some of the biggest trainers in racing.
Some of these horses had previous illustrious racing careers and had won thousands of pounds over the course of their careers.
The abattoir in question told the BBC that it did not condone animal abuse but one expert believes the footage from cameras installed by campaign group Animal Aid are breaches of the regulations that abattoirs must follow.
The majority of horses seen in the footage captured came from Ireland and were young.
BBC Panorama revealed in the article that three racehorses Gordon Elliot had trained in Meath were among the many Irish horses killed at the abattoirs.
The trainer, who is currently suspended after a photo of him on a phone call sitting atop a dead horse was made public, told Panorama that none of the horses were sent to the abattoir by him.
He stated to the BBC that the horses were not under his care when they were killed.
Elliot said to the BBC that two of them were given to a horse dealer to be “rehomed if possible, and if not, to be humanely euthanised” and gave the third horse to another rider as requested by its owner.
He noted that the first time he learned of their fate was when Panorama contacted him and that he has ensured the appropriate and proper treatment and welfare of animals that have been in his possession and has rehomed a substantial number of them.
Animal Aid’s cameras captured multiple instances of apparent regulation breaches, including horses being killed in sight of each other and being shot from a distance.
Horse Racing Ireland said it placed great importance on the welfare of the people and horses in the industry, when asked by the BBC
The British Horseracing Authority said to Panorama that it has a commitment to improving already high standards of care for racehorses and that it has demonstrated that.
The BHA said it would “consider carefully any issues raised” by the Panorama programme.
Dene Stansall of Animal Aid said to the BBC that he can understand why so many people are interested in horse racing.
“[But] because of the poor welfare record, the number of horses dying and being killed in slaughterhouses, I can no longer support that – and I think a lot of the public would feel the same way.”
Panorama: The Dark Side of Horse Racing is on BBC One on Monday at 20:30 and is available on the BBC iPlayer after it is broadcast