RSPCA: Statement regarding deaths of five horses at the Cheltenham Festival

The RSPCA is very concerned and upset by the death of five racehorses at the Cheltenham Festival.

David Muir the RSPCA’s equine consultant is at the Gloucestershire racecourse for the entire festival to monitor horse welfare.

He said: “These deaths show the unacceptable face of horse racing. Any death on any racecourse simply cannot be justified.

“The RSPCA is here at the festival to ensure that if any lessons can be learned from these deaths we will lobby the British Horse Racing Authority for changes to save horses in the future.

“We are also here to ensure that when horses are injured they received immediate veterinary care.”

Mr Muir is at the festival walking the course each day to satisfy himself that it has been prepared to high standards to reduce risks for the horses. He will raise any concerns with the BHA.

The Cheltenham Festival is the first major race meeting since changes to the whip rules were announced by the BHA last month.

The RSPCA is disappointed that the whip has been used excessively by five jockeys during the festival and fully support the decision to impose an appropriate punishment.

Gavin Grant, the RSPCA’s chief executive, said: “We welcome punishment for excessive use of the whip and will be examining if the level of penalty at the Cheltenham Festival is sufficient.”






RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288 Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 08448 222888 and ask for pager number 828825
Email: Website:

Love hens? Enjoy eggs? Check out our guide to choosing cage-free eggs: