Covert Cameras Reveal Shocking Number Of Racehorses Sent To The Slaughterhouse In The Last Two Years

by : Cameron Frew on : 19 Jul 2021 15:24
Covert Cameras Reveal Shocking Number Of Racehorses Sent To The Slaughterhouse In The Last Two YearsPA Images

Thousands of racehorses have been sent to British slaughterhouses over the past two years, according to a BBC Panorama investigation. 

The Dark Side Of Horse Racing, a new programme from the broadcaster’s investigative team, looks at covert footage supplied by Animal Aid, an animal rights group which has been fighting to outlaw horse racing and ban the slaughter of animals for human consumption.


Planting cameras in the F Drury & Sons abattoir in Swindon, which is licensed to slaughter horses in the UK, the undercover operation claims to have captured ‘dozens of former racehorses being slaughtered, the majority from Ireland’, with thousands of horses being sent to be killed since 2019.

Animal Aid wants to outlaw horse racing. (PA Images)PA Images

At least 4,000 horses have been sent to the slaughterhouse over the past two years, ‘most, but not all’ of which had been training in Ireland, some of which ‘had previous illustrious racing careers, winning thousands of pounds, and were associated with some of the biggest names in Irish racing’.

Three of them were previously in the care of Gordon Elliott, a disgraced, banned horse trainer who was photographed sitting on a dead horse on his gallops, The Guardian reports. According to Elliott, ‘none of those animals were sent by [him] to the abattoir’, with High Expectations and Kiss Me Kayf sent to a horse dealer to ‘be rehomed if possible, and if not, to be humanely euthanised in line with the regulations’.

Disgraced horse trainer Gordon Elliott. (PA Images)PA Images

Dene Stansall, horse racing consultant at Animal Aid, said: ‘We wanted to see what was actually happening there. When we looked at the footage, we were absolutely astounded at the sheer volume of young thoroughbreds.’

In addition to thousands of dead horses, Animal Aid also reportedly found ’91 occasions when the cameras recorded a slaughter-man shooting horses, not close up, but from yards away’, which doesn’t comply with humane regulations.

Professor Daniel Mills, a specialist in Veterinary Behavioural Medicine at the University of Lincoln, said: ‘It doesn’t look like the horse is even stunned. You can see it’s turning its head. It seems to have got some control actually over its head and neck.’

Thousands of horses were sent to the slaughterhouse between 2019-2021. (PA Images)PA Images

‘Taking a shot from a distance at a horse, to me, that’s completely out of order. If you’re going to euthanise a horse, you’ve got to get a bullet in the right place. If that’s representative of how they’re being killed, then we’ve got a really serious problem,’ he added.

In response to the allegations, the abattoir told Panorama: ‘We take great care to maintain high welfare conditions and do not accept any form of animal abuse. All horses are humanely destroyed and on occasions where issues do occur, we take swift action to review and rectify.’

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Cameron Frew

Entertainment Editor at UNILAD. 2001: A Space Odyssey is the best film ever made, and Warrior is better than Rocky. That's all you need to know.

Topics: Animals, horses, no-article-matching, Sport, UK


The Guardian
  1. The Guardian

    Thousands of ex-racehorses being sent to abattoirs, BBC investigation claims