British Racing Promotes Equine Welfare with New Campaign

The leading organizations in British Racing today (Dec. 6) launched a national campaign at Sandown Park’s Tingle Creek Christmas Festival to raise awareness of the high standards of equine welfare and care given to racehorses.

"The Horse Comes First" is an industry wide initiative supported by the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), Racecourse Association, Racehorse Owners Association, Professional Jockey’s Association, National Trainers Federation, and The Jockey Club, promoting the sport's commitment to the welfare of horses throughout and after their careers in racing.

Speakers at the launch at Sandown Park, in Surrey, England, included Steve Harman, chairman of the BHA; Peter Webbon, DVM, former chief executive of the Animal Health Trust; and Jock Bennett, employee of the year award winner at this year's Godolphin Stud and Stable Staff Awards.

“In the five months since I took on the role of chairman of BHA, I have spent a lot of time talking to people whose livelihoods depend on the sport, including breeders, trainers, jockeys, and stable staff," Harman said. "You only need to spend a short time in their company to recognize and understand that everybody in this sport cares passionately about horse welfare. The bond between man and horse is the common thread running through all of the sport’s participants.

“The launch of 'The Horse Comes First' campaign is a significant step in raising awareness of the first class care and attention that is given to the 14,000 racehorses in training," he continued. "We are proud to be one of the organizations supporting 'The Horse Comes First' and we will be working with the racing community to push the campaign further in 2014. Confidence in the sport’s commitment to horse welfare should be an asset; one which we use not only to protect racing’s reputation but to also help promote the sport and increase its customer base.”

The launch saw the unveiling of the campaign material, including an exclusive video shot at Nicky Henderson’s yard highlighting the day to day care racehorses enjoy—which is available to view online—along with leaflets and posters featuring the campaign’s key messages and photographs of the grade one winning pair Oscar Whisky and Finian’s Rainbow. The video and adverts will be shown across the country at all of Britain’s major race meetings, supported by a range of activities designed to promote standards of care.

British Racing has a track record to be proud of, being among the world’s best regulated animal activities, and recognized as a world leader on horse welfare. British Racing also prides itself on the high level of care it provides to racehorses, investing over £23 million since 2000 in veterinary research and education, an investment which benefits to all breeds of horse in Britain, not just Thoroughbreds.

For more information about "The Horse Comes First" campaign, visit

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