BBCR4 Today - Stop promoting cruelty to horses

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This is a picture of Sandsend being fatally injured at the Cheltenham Festival in 2018. Six horses died at the 2018 festival. The 2019 festival was better: only three were killed. Twenty-two more horses have died racing since Cheltenham (mid-March 2019), including three at Aintree and one in the Grand National — and yet BBC Radio 4's Today Programme continues to promote horse racing by offering tips to punters.

UK horse racing is bad for horses. In the last twelve years 1881 horses have died racing. That shocking statistic is just the tip of the iceberg of the animal welfare issues horse racing represents: many horses are kept in small stables for almost all the time out of fear of injury, many are raced too young leading to increased risk of injury, and horses that are found or become unfit for racing face an uncertain fate.

Given the problems racing causes for horse welfare, it's remarkable that BBC Radio 4's Today Programme discusses horse racing with such light-hearted unconcern. It recommends betting on particular horses — which it doesn't do for any other sport — and regularly jokes about their accuracy. This  reinforces the erroneous message that racing is a harmless activity and betting on it — which is what funds the industry — just a harmless flutter. In addition, all discussions of problem gambling on the programme are disorientatingly followed by the promotion of gambling through the racing tips.

Of course, there are many other important animal welfare issues needing action, such as the industrialised farming of animals. The Today's promotion of horse racing stands out because it treats a serious animal welfare issue as a joke.

Support for this petition will help the Today Programme realize its listeners find the racing tips an out-of-date turn off and a serious misjudgement. A first step would be to get the issue discussed on air: a request they've repeated ignored up to now. Please sign and share!