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BBC Panorama - The knives are out again

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Replies: 153
By:
duffy
When: 20 Jul 21 16:04
workrider 20 Jul 21 15:00 
with cctv if panorama stuck hidden cameras in every business in the country though they could create a 30 minutes programme the worlds full of corruption and malpractice . A brilliant observation Ballyregan and so true.


Yeah, just strikes more of a chord when there are animals are involved.
By:
onlooker
When: 20 Jul 21 16:10
Think Panorama might find it a little difficult to film inside the Kremlin...

The Chinese Communist Party Headquarters ... and the Mansions that the multitude of African Dictator Despots live in ... Off our 'Foreign Aid' money.   Cry
By:
MJK
When: 20 Jul 21 16:13
Punter I've always thought that allowing jockeys to buy and sell horses was wrong. Riding in a race against a horse you have sold, or 'broken' shouldn't be allowed as its very feasible for a jockey to want the other horse to win, thus not being too bothered on his own horse.
By:
casemoney
When: 20 Jul 21 16:25
Why are they being sent over here ?
By:
sparrow
When: 20 Jul 21 16:27
workrider 20 Jul 21 15:00
with cctv if panorama stuck hidden cameras in every business in the country though they could create a 30 minutes programme the worlds full of corruption and malpractice . A brilliant observation Ballyregan and so true.





Just Panorama then?  Nobody else capable of investigating such matters?
By:
jamesdean
When: 20 Jul 21 16:36
Seems a fair point by, workrider, considering it is a Panorama program we are discussing tbf, sparrow.
By:
Punter #1
When: 20 Jul 21 16:37
TBH MJK, its sickening to watch the racing on the tv with all the licking. Chamberlain dehumanised himself the other week expressing his pity and sorrow for Coolmore regarding Galileo and how good the pig owner was to give them an interview on feature on derby day. Ted walsh and family are on every media platform ambassadors for betting companies in the mix. That money they receive from betting companies should be passed on to gambling rehab for addicts, not those leeches.

I know i am going off on a tangent but all those deserve criticism because they try to keep all the gravy all to themselves. The animals are the stars of the industry but are treated the worst.
By:
sparrow
When: 20 Jul 21 16:39
I was thinking that horse welfare was the subject rather than the BBC but others attach far more importance to the latter.
By:
Carveth
When: 20 Jul 21 16:41
I was thinking who else on terrestrial TV carries out investigative journalism these days? Dispatches came immediately to mind. There seemed to be much more in the past or is that me looking through “rose-tinted glasses”? Panorama ran for an hour and was always a "must see" and then there was John Pilger. If you asked me where I would like some of my licence fee to go investigative journalism would be near the top of the list rather than into the pay packets of senior executives and celebrities. Many of the criticisms of the BBC apply to numerous other organisations, power resides at the top, reputations are at stake and there will be cover-ups.

If we have a vested or personal interest in a topic that’s under attack, we're never going to like it, but that's far better than existing in a highly secretive world that's completely beyond people’s control or influence. That’s my initial impression of the Oireachtas Agriculture committee hearing into issues relating to the Horse Racing Industry currently taking place in Ireland.
By:
jamesdean
When: 20 Jul 21 16:44
Horse welfare is the subject but it is Panorama you stick up for in your latest post. The irony is, you seem more bothered about sticking up
for the bbc/Panorama than you do the horse's welfare. The exact same thing you are moaning about what others are doing
By:
Punter #1
When: 20 Jul 21 16:46
the racing industry is right to be investigated because there are lots of big companies making money off the back of what the horses do such as the tv production companies and their "expert pundits", catering companies, trainers, blood stock agents, breeders, betting companies etc.
By:
ballyregan
When: 20 Jul 21 16:46
investigative journalism is a very dangerous subject to get involved Carveth with I suppose, people can easily go missing if they take aim or go after or delve into dodgy subjects,people,topics
By:
differentdrum
When: 20 Jul 21 17:01
Before they talk about care after racing the BHA should address the suggestion by onlooker that it would be impossible to care for every horse.

Is that true. or not? If it is true how many healthy horses are being killed every year and why is it just accepted?

Racing loves to shout about the horses that sell for huge sums, but what about those that don't sell, what happens to them? That's something we never hear about.

It boils down to the constant cheerleading. Bad news is consistently buried.
By:
ballyregan
When: 20 Jul 21 17:01
bha are a funny organisation big issues rumours occur quite alot in racing but there preferred angle is to not even make a comment on them and remarkably it seems to work alot as some issues just drift away because of time.....
By:
sparrow
When: 20 Jul 21 17:18
jamesdean, as long as we agree it was right for Panorama to investigate this matter then there is nothing to argue about.
By:
jamesdean
When: 20 Jul 21 17:24
We agree on that, yes
By:
doorman99
When: 20 Jul 21 17:49
Does any Irish horseperson on here know why they aren't put down in Ireland please. Must be a reason.
By:
whodareswins
When: 21 Jul 21 11:02
2018 Regulations dictate that CCTV must be used wherever the animal is alive.  This CCTV must be made available to inspectors.  So why the need for covert CCTV?

Several stories in local press about abattoir before Panaroma.
By:
sageform
When: 21 Jul 21 12:54
I will ask again what those opposed to the humane killing of any domestic animal would like to see happen instead. Should we repeal the laws that oblige Vets to tell owners of domestic animals that it would be more humane to kill the animal than to prolong its life further. This point is reached in the lives of the majority of dogs, cats, horses and other pets. Any owner who does not take this advice can be prosecuted and often are by the RSPCA. The issue is where should they be killed and by whom. For years, horses were seen, like cattle, sheep and pigs, as farm animals that were used as beasts of burden and then killed for meat. The laws have not caught up with the changes in the uses of domestic horses which is why the law needs changing. I would propose the following.
1. No horse can be taken alive from another country to UK for the purpose of slaughter.
2. No GB horses should be used for meat.
The economic consequences would be considerable but the concerned public will not go away. It will be expensive to burn or bury all of the carcases and that will also cause some opposition but what is the alternative?
By:
differentdrum
When: 21 Jul 21 14:24
The programme was specifically about ex-racehorses so I am not sure what referencing other animals has got to do with that discussion.

It seems as if many of these horses are not at the end of there lives. I will ask again are you happy to see healthy horses shot?
By:
sageform
When: 21 Jul 21 14:44
Yes but only close to where they have been kept and only if all of the welfare laws have been followed. The reason why I mentioned other animals is that the law is the same.
By:
Carveth
When: 21 Jul 21 16:42
Some interesting facts and figures from a Greg Wood (Guardian) article today:
87% of thoroughbreds slaughtered at Drury & Sons in 2019 (for practical purposes the only abattoir in Great Britain which takes ex-racehorses) arrived from Ireland. In 2020, it was 88%.

There are 14,000 horses in training in Britain at any one time, and 20,000 that race over the course of a year.

In Ireland, the latest equivalent figures are 4,552 and 9,248 respectively.

Panorama was content to say that the “vast majority” of horses slaughtered at Drury & Sons had arrived from Ireland.

Panorama claimed 4,000 thoroughbreds were sent to abattoirs in Britain & Ireland in 2019 & 2020, 2,000 annually. But since there are just two abattoirs in Ireland with a licence to accept thoroughbreds, it seems likely that the total of ex-racers from British stables that end up in an abattoir is below even the 200 per year implied by the relative numbers at Drury & Sons.

More detailed analysis of the age and racing experience of the thoroughbreds sent for slaughter could shed light on some of the reasons for the apparent disparity.

Ireland’s breeding industry, for instance is the biggest in Europe and the third largest in the world, with a foal crop of 8,500 in 2020. If it turns out that a significant number of these horses being slaughtered are simply surplus to requirements, what can be done to cut overproduction.

The World Horse Welfare chief executive said, Panorama’s programme “raises bigger issues than what appear to be shocking practices of one abattoir”.
By:
sageform
When: 21 Jul 21 17:36
I am amazed that such a large number are being sent here. Of course Drury and Co. should be observing the welfare rules but how have we arrived at a point where Ireland is not willing to slaughter their own surplus horse population and rely on Drury?
By:
doorman99
When: 21 Jul 21 19:49
Totally mad and odd.
By:
impossible123
When: 21 Jul 21 20:22
It was cruel and unnecessary sufferings; the executioner with the gun (not even hidden) was a sickening sight. That abattoir was the hiorses Auschwitz. Maybe the owners could be subject to similar scenarios!
By:
Gordon63
When: 22 Jul 21 11:26
it seems days after the broadcast that we're none the wiser as to why Irish trained racehorses are sent (in some cases i.e. when injured, illegally) to UK for slaughter.  I think the BHA and Police (if necessary) should be questioning the haulage companies who've transported these animals and from there find out who has ordered and paid for the transport - as they say follow the money.  I wouldn't be surprised if there was some commercial advantage but we owe it to the racehorses who provide so much to find out. And according to what I've read recently the increased paperwork/regulations post-Brexit would eliminate any previous commercial advantage so the Irish abbatoir better get an extra shift sorted!!

The story is about the slaughter of racehorses and NOT about who broke the story or why - by all means question why others hadn't exposed or why neither the BHA or IHRB were aware beforehand or if they did, did they care?

Animal Aid placed the CCTV NOT BBC

Too much racing, too many horses - let's hope BHA/IHRB finally see sense and co-operate rather than finger pointing (e.g. Elliott Cheltenham ban prior to IHRB panel) and work on this to gradually reduce both to more sustainable and practical levels and if that means trainer A or jockey B has to find a new career then so be it, at very least it should address the constant whining from trainers about the difficulty of finding good stable staff.
By:
sageform
When: 22 Jul 21 13:09
Do the horse racing authorities have any sanctions on breeders? Breeders have no obligation to even send them to the thoroughbred sales do they? They could be sold privately as hacks and the BHA or IRHB would have no reason to be involved. Once they enter a licensed training yard the rules kick in.
By:
sixtwosix
When: 22 Jul 21 13:55
As each day goes on , I am feeling less and less like I want to continue with following this sport , 50 years and counting.

Transporting any animal to another country for slaughter is something that should have ended in other centuries .

It should be done as close as possible to the animals home and as humanely as possible .

For all the wonderful stories this year at Aintree and Cheltenham there is a barbaric ,cruel and nauseating stench in the sport .
By:
Carveth
When: 22 Jul 21 15:37
RICHARD FORRISTAL, Racing Post(RP) yesterday

"Over the past five years the number of thoroughbreds slaughtered at two Department of Agriculture-approved facilities in Ireland has halved. It went from 2,952 in 2016 to 1,549 in 2020.

Is that part of the reason why, as Panorama portrayed on Monday night, horses are being shipped from Ireland to Britain in large numbers to be slaughtered?" (Richard Forristal, RP)

"it's likely the dramatic reduction in thoroughbreds slaughtered in Ireland is linked to the market for exporting horses to Britain for slaughter, although the 2021 figures will be especially informative because of Brexit." (Richard Forristal, RP)

"One of the two certified equine slaughterhouses in Ireland closed at the end of 2019 following a fire, but, having spoken to people close to the abattoir scene here, the consensus is that the demand within the slaughter industry for thoroughbreds doesn't exist in Ireland, partly because they cannot access any critical volume, despite the market being there for it internationally." (Richard Forristal, RP)

"Trainers promote the happy-ever-after lifestyles of some of their most recognisable names, but yards that turn over hundreds of horses won't be able to make that happen for every horse.

Of course, many owners will ensure they are involved in the process, but many others are content to absolve themselves of that chore, so investment in the structures and policies for suitable aftercare of horses is paramount." (Richard Forristal, RP)


Education of the owners by the BHA/Horse Welfare Board (and the equivalent in Ireland) seems essential, some won't need it, but others will, before perhaps considering a more draconian approach e.g., licensing owners, asking them to sign off a document which states what their responsibilities are. I don't really mind what the solution is, but owners and trainers need to work together to explore the best outcomes. Ownership must be more than just turning up on race day.


"In Britain, where there is a lower per capita ratio of thoroughbreds, the Retraining of Racehorses charity is funded by various levies and contributions, including a £1.25 owners' tax on each entry. It draws on a broad spectrum of stakeholders, yet still RoR's pot in 2019 totalled just £708,837." (Richard Forristal, RP)


I was then wondering how all the other racehorse rehoming charities get funded? One had an appeal around the time of Cheltenham (The Racehorse Sanctuary), it appeared on the Reliant on Racing slot of ITV Racing but only raised an additional £2,000 via the Just Giving appeal (still open) whereas I think the WellChild Cheltenham appeal raised a substantial amount (over £200,000?) which made me feel that there was something amiss here.


"We have got to take heed of some of the points put forward in the programme, and we've made good progress on a lot of fronts. We do need to be able to have absolutely certain traceability when horses leave the sport, although at the sales when they are sold, and many go abroad, it's more difficult.

We bang the drum about how well they are looked after in training, but we need to make sure and make people appreciate how well they are looked after when they are no longer in training – 99 per cent are so well looked after." (Nicky Henderson, RP, JUL 21 2021)


I agree with Mr. Henderson, traceability is the key but without it we can’t say whether 99% is a valid figure or not.

In The Black Horse is Dying (published in 2020) William Jones makes reference to a law that Charles Haughey introduced as finance minister in Ireland "That made all income from stallion stud fees tax free"(Page 183). Jones says, “stallion owners, of which Haughey was one himself, didn’t even have to make returns about income they derived from their stallions”. Nearly forty years later "the EU banned it as an illegal state subsidy".

Perhaps the withdrawal of this subsidy, along with over-production, is now placing financial pressure on studs in Ireland?

So, the jigsaw is slowly coming together. It's a shame that all this information wasn't more readily available. It shouldn't be left to journalists, investigative programmes etc. to make sense of what is happening and relay this onto the public. Maybe industry insiders already knew the situation and hoped matters could be resolved “internally” via the Horse Welfare Board Strategy?

Sixtwosix - don't despair, this could be the moment when things start to move in a more favourable direction, although I accept this is based on the assumption that the authorities will respond effectively to current circumstances.
By:
carrot1960
When: 26 Jul 21 16:20
Martin Wasylocha talks about the Panorama Programme


Racehorse owner and breeder Martin Wasylocha who's High Expectations was one of the racehorses featured in last week's BBC Panorama documentary entitled 'The Dark Side of Horse Racing' has spoken for the first time about the programme.

Wasylocha, whose red and white hooped silks are regularly seen on racecourses both here and in the UK and owned 2018 Cheltenham Festival winner Veneer Of Charm said: "I was the owner and also the breeder of High Expectations. He was a wonderful horse and provided me and my family with many fantastic days. I have been horrified with how my horse has been showcased in recent days, in the Panorama programme and then in subsequent press coverage."

"There is an obvious inference that I as the owner basically didn't care about the horse once his career finished. I find this extremely upsetting and unfair."

"From my point of view the facts are that the horse had a career ending injury at Bellewstown in 2019. I had an agreement with Gordon Elliott for the horse to see out his days on his farm at Cullentra. In early January 2020 Gordon called me and advised that the horse had further aggravated the injury and after veterinary advice, he advised me that in order to stop the horse from suffering he should be euthanised. I agreed and took it as the end of the matter. Perhaps I have culpability in not following up, but I just took it that it would be handled properly."

"When I saw the Panorama programme, I was shocked, angry and horrified that my horse could end up in an abattoir in the UK."

"I am of the opinion that the traceability of the horses currently employed is completely unfit for purpose. I don't understand why there is not a system in place for an annual return of horses which, when necessary, should be accompanied by a death certificate."

"I am enclosing a current picture of two of my horses, Pasghetti Hoops (foaled 1997, my first racehorse) and Hearthstead Dream (2001) both of which I still own and who are currently enjoying their retirement at my expense on a farm in Co. Meath. For the record, Pasghetti Hoops had career earnings of €525 and I estimate that between training, keep fees and other expenses that I have spent in excess of €200,000 on her over the years."
By:
impossible123
When: 26 Jul 21 18:34
I firmly some in the horseracing industry esp trainers know about this despicable mistreatment of former/injured racehorses for years but merely acting irresponsibly deciding not to rock the applecart until the Panorama programme. This has to stop otherwise punters and the media eg terrestrial tv would not want to be seen to be supporting an industry that knowingly allowed cruelty to their servants in numbers annually.

I hope the BHA and government will outlaw this sickening activity and bring those flouting and circumventing present set procedures to book; profiting from cruelty to former racehorses must be stopped now and not tolerated a minute longer.
By:
jamesdean
When: 26 Jul 21 18:35
Punters will not give a fk
By:
Carveth
When: 29 Jul 21 13:38
I suspect most everyday punters will carry on as they have always done. The immediate impact will be reputational damage and, as Richard Hoiles said on ITV Racing this Saturday, how this is perceived by those outside of horse racing who watched the Panorama programme. Racing has its periodic crises, chooses to deal with the immediate issue, and then moves on. Whether that will be enough in this instance only time will tell.

There will be those where horse racing is more of a pastime who might possibly not engage with it quite so much. On the other hand, racecourses are trying to get more people through the gates, for a day out. These customers may be oblivious to the current machinations of racing and not wanting , or having the time, to delve into issues in the same way that some of us might.

One worry is that potential new recruits are deterred from joining the industry, or existing stable staff decide to leave, because of what has happened.

Bennett Liebman (Executive Director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School and a member of the board of directors of the New York Racing Association) wrote an article “Reasons for the Decline of Horse Racing” for the New York Times (June 6, 2010). It is context specific (and partly historic) to New York, but there are some similarities. Will we go the same way?

The top of horse racing seems to be driven by the breeding industry and the monetary value this can bring. It is dominated by a small number of influential people. This is where its vulnerability lies. For example, if a major player decides to contract operations or leave the sport. Because so much money and employment are tied up with racing, racing authorities will probably tread carefully so substantial changes are unlikely to happen any time soon and are more likely to occur by osmosis.

The latest Racehorse Sanctuary (summer) Just Giving appeal will show how people in racing, and followers of racing, feel about this issue. The JustGiving weblink contains “campaign/summer-crisis”, so I’m assuming that’s what it is.

These quotes came from Mary Frances of the Moorcroft Rehabilitation Centre in a Racing Post article last week who told Panorama "Sadly, so many of them come to us with injuries and ailments that need time and without a doubt a large amount of funding" and “There is money available but there doesn't seem to be the understanding or the desire to put the money where it is needed." (Welfare chief condemns abattoir practices shown in Panorama documentary, Chris Cook, Racing Post JUL 19 2021)
By:
skiptoomaloumacari
When: 29 Jul 21 14:08
Surely no owner will trust Elliott now ...............hideous man............
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