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What is the RSPCA position on horse jumps races?
RSPCA Australia is opposed to jumps races (steeplechasing and hurdling) because of the high probability of a horse suffering serious injury or even death as a result of participating in these events. Despite, modifications being made, deaths have continued. A 2006 study by the University of Melbourne showed that a jumps horse was 18.9 times more likely to die than a flat racing horse1. There are many reasons for this including the race distance being at least 1 kilometre longer than flat racing and in some cases nearly 5 kilometres in length, horses carrying a heavier weight than flat racing and they must negotiate obstacles which are at least 1 metre high and often in close proximity with other horses thereby increasing a risk of collision.
Jumps racing events also place the jockey at a high risk of serious injury, with one study showing that jumps jockeys were 41% more likely to suffer fractures than a flats jockey 2.
RSPCA SA: The Illogical Races Campaign
1 Boden, L.A., et al (2006) ‘Risk of fatality and causes of death of Thoroughbred horses associated with racing in Victoria, Australia: 1989-2004.’ Equine Veterinary Journal 38, 312-8
2 Curry, B.A. et al (2015) Workplace injuries in Thoroughbred Racing: An analysis of Insurance Payment and Injuries amongst Jockeys in Australia from 2002 to 2010. Animals, 5, pp 897-909
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