‘EQUINE welfare is a top priority’ said the head of the town’s racecourse after it was revealed two horses were fatally injured during the weekend’s racing.
Animal Aid said the horses were injured while racing at the Wood Lane course on Saturday – during the UB40 race day.
It revealed Jasper Mancini broke down lame with an injured foreleg just short of the winning post in the 6.40pm hurdle race, then just 35 minutes later Cap Elorn suffered a horrific fall at the final open-ditch fence in the 7.15pm handicap chase.
This brings Uttoxeter’s horse death toll up to 32 since March 2007 and now the organisation says that urgent action is required by both the racecourse and the British Horseracing Authority to prevent further horse deaths.
However, David MacDonald, executive director of Uttoxeter Racecourse, said that the safety of the animals is taken very seriously.
He told the Post and Times: “Equine welfare is a top priority at Uttoxeter Racecourse as it is at all British racecourses. Of course we regret any serious incidents and have expressed our sympathies to the connections of the horses concerned.
“As with any equine incidents it is routine that we carry out a full investigation, these cases were unrelated and unfortunate incidents.
“The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is the Government recognised body responsible for the regulation of horseracing. Together with recognised welfare charities the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare, BHA is a leading signatory of the National Equine Welfare Protocol.
“The highest standards of horse welfare are demanded of all jockeys, trainers and racecourses and none of the 1,450 fixtures held annually in Britain can take place unless key BHA equine welfare criteria have been satisfied.
“As with any equine activity, racing is a sport that carries risk, and as with any equine activity that risk can never be entirely eliminated.
“British Racing is open and transparent about the risks involved.
“From around 90,000 runners each year the average fatality rate is just 0.2 per cent, a figure which has decreased by 33 per cent in the last 15 years. In 2013 the fatality rate at Uttoxeter was well below the national five-year average for jump racing.
“In return for this small level of risk, the 14,000 horses in training at any one time are provided with levels of care and a quality of life that is virtually unsurpassed by any other domesticated animal.
“Animal Aid are not a welfare organisation, nor are they a charity. Their stated aim is to ban all Horseracing, despite the fact that this would have disastrous consequences for the thoroughbred horse as a breed, as well as the rural economy in areas such as Uttoxeter.”