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More than 120 horses have died this year on Ireland's racecourses

Minister Michael Creed has said the figure is consistent with other major racing jurisdictions.

Image: Shutterstock.com

OVER 120 RACEHORSES have been fatally injured in Ireland so far this year.

According to the latest figures released by Horse Racing Ireland (HRI) and The Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board (IHRB), 128 horses have died racing on both racecourses and point-to-point tracks in Ireland in 2019. 

The figure represents 0.38% of the 33,746 racehorses in the same period, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed TD said, in response to a Parliamentary Question from Independent TD Maureen O’Sullivan. 

“Given the mix of racing in Ireland – flat and national hunt – [it] is consistent with other major racing jurisdictions,” said Creed. 

The Minister added that it would be “impractical” to ascertain the number of injuries suffered by racehorses in Ireland this year, however.  

“The timing of the injury will not always be obvious at the racecourse,” the Minister said.

“For example, a horse could be injured when travelling to or from racecourses from the trainer’s yard.”

In response to O’Sullivan, Creed said that Irish racing authorities take horse welfare “extremely seriously” and that independent clerks at racecourses work to “maximise the safety of the course for horse and jockey”.

“Many new initiatives have taken place in recent years in areas such as track surfaces, irrigation policies, hurdle and fence design and race surface maintenance,” said Creed. 

“I am satisfied, therefore, that adequate precautions are in place to protect horses as far as is practicable,” he said. 

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