All racehorses in Britain will be signed out of the human food chain from 2022, the British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has announced.
The rule change, which comes three months after a BBC Panorama investigation into the slaughter of horses, will mean horses cannot be sent to abattoirs in exchange for money to be slaughtered for food.
From January 1, any horses entered to run will not be accepted unless it has been declared as not intended for human consumption via the horse’s passport.
🚨BHA confirms changes to the Rules of Racing:
1) All Horses entered to run in Britain must be signed out of human food chain by 1 Jan 2022
🔹Decision agreed unanimously by the BHA’s cross-industry Veterinary Committee in Jan 2021.
— BHA Press Office (@BHAPressOffice) October 7, 2021
The Panorama investigation, entitled The Dark Side of Horse Racing, broadcast covert footage filmed inside one of the UK’s biggest abattoirs – which it is claimed showed rules surrounding the slaughter of horses being breached.
The BHA’s director of equine health and welfare, James Given, said: “The sport’s Veterinary Committee made the decision to exclude racehorses who run in Britain from the food chain in January of this year.
“It was subsequently put out to consultation with the racing industry prior to being approved by the Rules Committee and finally by the BHA Board in September.
“British racing has in place a euthanasia code of practice to aid trainers and owners with end-of-life decisions. The guidance is clear that whenever possible, euthanasia should be performed at home or in suitable surroundings.
“The transporting of horses to an abattoir to be sold for consumption should not, in my view, be classed as euthanasia and is not an approach that we should tolerate in our sport, which is why a rule preventing this practice is a positive step.
“I am confident that most British trainers and owners agree with me on this and already observe this principle.”
In a statement, the BHA added that it is “liaising with international jurisdictions and examining EU legislation regarding the practical implementation of this Rule to include all international runners”.
British regulations mean all racehorses will also be banned from entering the animal food chain.