Thousands of Irish trained horses slaughtered in UK abattoirs, programme says

BBC Panorama investigation focuses on fate of racehorses after their careers have ended

At least 4,000 racehorses have been slaughtered in British abattoirs since 2019, with "most, but not all" of the horses trained in Ireland, according to a Panorama investigation.

The racing industry is bracing itself ahead of the BBC broadcast on Monday evening which will focus on the fate of racehorses after their careers have ended.

The programme, entitled The Dark Side of Horse Racing, will be shown at 8.30pm on BBC One and includes covert footage filmed inside one of the UK’s biggest abattoirs — which it is claimed show rules surrounding the slaughter of horses being breached.

The cameras were set up by a campaign group which has called for an end to racing and filmed at the end of 2019 and the start of 2020, during which time it is alleged “dozens” of former racehorses were shot, with regulations to prevent animals from unnecessary suffering contravened on numerous occasions.


Veterinary experts have offered their views to the programme, outlining concerns about the manner of slaughter as well as the transport of horses, especially those with potential injuries.

A leading trainer also features as three of the horses concerned were reportedly trained by them. – PA