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No evidence of neglect of ex-racehorses says BHA.

Byline: Graham Green

THE BHA has strongly repudiated claims by the operator of one of Britain's few abattoirs licensed to slaughter horses that the sport's efforts to prevent thoroughbreds entering the food chain are subjecting unwanted racehorses to unnecessary suffering.

In Wednesday's Racing Post, Stephen Potter, of Bristol-based Lawrence J Potter, said racing's antipathy towards the horsemeat industry had contributed to a glut of animals who "end up being passed from hand to hand in an everdiminishing spiral of poor husbandry, ignorant neglect and wilful mismanagement".

Potter also alleged that in many cases equine passports, which determine whether a former racehorse is fit for human consumption on the basis of previous medical history - including whether it has had bute, an antiinflammatory drug - are inaccurate. Responding to the comments, Professor Tim Morris, the BHA's director of equine science and welfare, said: "There's absolutely no evidence that thoroughbred racehorses are being presented with inaccurate passports or suffering neglect. If Mr Potter has evidence of this taking place he should contact the Food Standards Agency or the BHA.

"Racing's charity, Retraining of Racehorses, has a specialist fund for emergency relief of neglect and we do not currently receive any significant calls for its use.

"Mr Potter is also misinformed about racing's position on the slaughter of horses for human consumption. The BHA's position is to recognise that humane slaughter is a legal and appropriate alternative for horses."

Morris added: "Racing's work to prevent horses treated with bute entering the food chain is carried out simply because that is the law, and as such it's the only responsible course of action.

"The BHA, working with the British equine veterinary profession, has lobbied that bute is an important drug and it is nonsensical to suppose it remains in the horse for extended periods. We've offered our considerable expertise in medication analysis to show this. It is the European Commission which is not willing to alter its position."

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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:The Racing Post (London, England)
Date:Feb 8, 2013
Words:330
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