Our Statement RE BBC Panorama’s “Dark Side of Horse Racing”

There has been public outcry and debate following the broadcast of BBC Panorama’s “The Dark side of Horse Racing”.

Communities For Horses has the following statement to make:

The significant horse welfare issues publicised in the programme relate not just to the racing industry. From our own experience, we can say that many of the issues highlighted in the programme affect potentially all horses in this country, in particular the failings in the equine identification system, welfare during transportation and welfare at slaughter.

CFH has campaigned since inception for fundamental change to address inherent shortcomings in current legislation in these areas. However, not only are there failings in the current legislative framework but even what is in place is not being enforced. Many of the appalling footage shown reflected non-compliance with current law.

Currently under scrutiny by Parliament is the Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill – which, if passed into law, will mean that the law will require all arms of government to consider animal sentience when forming policy and writing legislation. If animals are recognised by the law as being “sentient” then not only will creature’s physical wellbeing require safeguarding but also their feelings.

The Government has set out an Action Plan for Animal Welfare outlining various consultations and initiatives “to introduce tangible, enduring change which elevates the way we treat animals to the next level”.

CFH sincerely hopes that the publication of the Action Plan marks genuine commitment to “action” and funding rather than just more words. Enforcement remains key and that requires trained, empowered and committed staff with access to all necessary resources to investigate, monitor and implement the law.