Stakeholder Perceptions of the Challenges to Racehorse Welfare

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The purpose of this paper is to highlight some of the key challenges to racehorse welfare as perceived by racing industry stakeholders. The paper draws upon statements and transcripts from 10 focus group discussions with 42 participants who were taking part in a larger study investigating stakeholders’ perceptions of racehorse welfare, which participants recognised as maintaining the physical and mental well-being of a performance animal. Analysis of the 68 statements participants identified as challenges produced nine themes. Among these, 26% (18 statements) of the challenges were health related, whilst 41% (28 statements) focused on the effect staff shortages were having on the racing industry. Staff shortages were perceived as affecting standards of racehorse care and the opportunity to develop a human–horse relationship. Poor employee relations due to a lack of recognition, communication and respect were perceived as having a detrimental effect on employee attitudes, behaviour and staff retention which, in turn, can have a sequential effect on the welfare and health of horses in training. Although the number of challenges produced is small (68), they emphasise the perceptions of stakeholders closely associated with the racing industry.

Original languageEnglish
Article number363
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages10
Issue number363
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2019


  • Employee relations
  • Horse
  • Human relationship
  • Racehorse welfare
  • Staff shortages
  • Standards of care

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