Reading Time: 2 minutes Some of the slaughtered horses were previously owned by acclaimed trainers including Gordon Elliot Credit: Adobe. Do not use without permission.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Thousands of former racehorses are being slaughtered in abattoirs in the UK, an investigation has revealed.

Moreover, many are young when they are killed – following injury or retirement from the industry.

Racehorses sent to abattoirs

4,000 of the former racehorses were slaughtered since the start of 2019 in the UK and Ireland. This is according to Freedom of Information requests, the BBC reports.

Additionally, some of the slaughtered horses were previously owned and trained by renowned industry figures. The news was revealed in an investigation undertaken by the charity Animal Aid over four days last year.

Upon placing a camera inside the English abattoir Drury & Sons, the organization says it was ‘astounded’ at the number of young thoroughbreds. 

The covert footage is set to be revealed this evening on July 19 in a BBC Panorama program.

According to the news outlet, it captures ‘breaches of rules designed to protect animals from unnecessary cruelty’.

Trainer scandal

Some of the horses shot on the premises were once owned by the Irish horse trainer and previous Grand National winner, Gordon Elliott.

Elliot hit the headlines earlier this year when a photo circled of him sitting on a dead horse.

This prompted an investigation by the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board. As a result, the trainer apologized ‘profoundly’ and insisted his horses receive paramount care.

Calls for curb on horse breeding

Animal Aid is directing people to a petition calling for limits to unrestricted horse breeding.

This is because excessive breeding is leading to the slaughter of thousands of the animals each year, causing an ‘equine crises’, according to campaigners.

The petition reads: “Over-breeding is a major cause of problems. The Government needs to address this issue by setting clear limits on the number of foals born annually. All breeders would need to apply for a license to breed horses.

“There would be significant sanctions for anyone breeding horses without a license or breeding more horses than licensed to do so, including anyone sending horses to slaughter.”

You can sign the petition here, and you can catch the Panorama episode on BBC One at 8.30 pm GMT on Monday July 19

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Emily is a News and Features Writer for Plant Based News. She has previously worked as a journalist in Devon, UK, reporting on local issues from politics to the environment.