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Talking Horses: drop in fatality rate is disputed by animal rights body

Racing’s ruling body says there were fewer equine fatalities last year than in 2018, but its figures were challenged by Animal Aid

Racing’s ruling body issued a reassuring assertion on Thursday that the number of horse deaths at the track last year was significantly lower than in 2018, when an alarming increase provoked headlines. However, the figure published by the British Horseracing Authority was immediately challenged by Animal Aid, an animal rights organisation hostile to the sport, which said that it had noted a higher figure than the BHA for the first time in its many years of tracking equine fatalities.

The BHA says it recorded 173 fatal injuries to racehorses in 2019, from 91,937 total runners, a rate of 0.19%. In other words, the fatality rate was slightly less than two per 1,000 runners. That brings the BHA’s five-year rolling average down to the same figure, 0.19%, the lowest it has been since the BHA started recording fatality numbers in 1994.

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