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Racing body reviews horse deaths at Cheltenham Festival
BHA said it will examine existing penalties for misuse of the whip.

Six horses died during this year’s event

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is reviewing the circumstances that led to the deaths of six horses at this year’s Cheltenham Festival.

In a statement after the event, chief regulatory officer Jamie Stier said: “I must first express my sympathy towards to all those who will have loved and cared for the horses who suffered fatal injuries this week.

"Everyone who follows this sport does so because we love these fine animals and it is extremely sad when we lose any horse.

“The BHA will be reviewing the circumstances leading to the fatalities at the Cheltenham Festival. We will examine the evidence from the past week over the next few days before deciding how we will pursue the review.

“We continue to use research, safety measures, regulation and education to reduce fatality rates to as close to zero as possible. This is what has contributed to the overall fatality rate within British racing reducing by a third in the last 20 years, and the fatality rate in Jump racing reducing to below 0.4 per cent of runners.

“We will also be examining whether the existing penalties for misuse of the whip, and how they apply, constitute an adequate deterrent to jockeys.”

According to reports, two six-year-old horses, Mossback and Report To Base, died on the first day of the festival. Sandsend died on the final day after an injury that shattered his foreleg, while Dresden, North Hill Harvey and Some Plan all died in the final race.

Following the news, celebrities including Ricky Gervais and vets Marc Abraham and Emma Milne co-signed a letter calling for action.

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New app to improve street dog welfare

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 A new free app will support vital work in clinics caring for stray dogs around the world, experts say. Created by the University of Edinburgh, the tool allows vets to track the wellbeing of dogs going through catch-neuter-return schemes, which are common in countries with large numbers of strays.

Vets say the welfare of individual dogs can be overlooked during the process of capture, transport or surgery. The app, piloted across Asia and Africa, helps staff to monitor welfare, spot signs of distress and develop strategies to improve care. It was launched at BSAVA Congress on Friday 6 April.  

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