EMHF - Welfare at the top of the agenda

There is debate over the appropriateness of the use, in the context of horseracing, of the term ‘social licence.’

There is debate over the appropriateness of the use, in the context of horseracing, of the term ‘social licence.’ It is heard in our world with increasing frequency, but opponents point to the fact that it implies a formal power – which society, of course, does not hold, in any direct sense – to sanction or prohibit the sport. But it is surely incontestable that racing’s future is brighter where it enjoys broad public support and more precarious where there is widespread opposition. There is encouraging evidence that racing ‘gets’ this.

As public sensibilities around the world shift towards ever greater concern for the wellbeing of animals, so there are numerous examples of racehorse welfare moving ever higher up the agenda of racing’s administrators. The tone has been set at the very top – it has been a mantra of the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities’ (IFHA) chairman Louis Romanet in recent years that horse welfare must be central to the efforts of national racing authorities.

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