The Green Party has announced that if they come into power they will have a “complete review” on horse racing and greyhound racing. This could include banning racing completely. Miss Bennett said “There are clearly animal protection issues there that need to be addressed – the fact of not just what happens in races, but what happens to the animals that disappear from the system, the whole range of issues.”
I understand that there are many welfare issues surround animal racing. However, I can’t talk for greyhound racing, but I know that horse racing does a lot to improve welfare for their animals. This is shown by the recent rise in Retraining of Racehorses (ROR) and the funding and backing it is getting from the industry. I personally feel the Green Party are blinkered when it comes to the truth about racing.
As hard as it can be on the horses, there are some important points you need to remember. The racing industry funds a lot of scientific research into injury, healing, treatments and general horse health. Without the racing industry funding, a lot of treatment wouldn’t be available to our horses. The second point I think needs to be made clear is how big an impact the racing industry has on the economy. Horse racing is the second biggest spectator sport in the UK after football. It is worth £3.4 billion to our economy from betting, training fees, purchasing horses, racetrack profits and more. It provides 17,000+ full time jobs as well as 100,000+ associated jobs.
The Green Party is all for increasing welfare, but what do they think will happen if they ban horse racing? Even just reducing the size of the industry will have a drastic effect on the UK. Thousands of people would lose their jobs and the economy will be millions of pounds poorer. Not only this, but the thousands of thoroughbreds bred for racing will now have no purpose. What does the Green Party think will happen to these animals? The majority of them will be slaughtered for meat or become rescue cases. The UK is already over horsed and thoroughbreds are high maintenance and expensive to keep. This will make them difficult to re home. A few will be go to other countries where they can continue to be racing animals or go to new loving homes. But the majority of them will not be this lucky.
I do believe that welfare in the racing industry could always be improved. However, the fact that they haven’t denied a complete ban worries me. It would create more welfare problems than it solves. What do you think about their “review” on racing if they get into power?