AIRO board of directors met for a one-item agenda meeting on Thursday 22nd July, 2021 to discuss the issues raised in the BBC Panorama documentary aired on the previous Monday night. There was universal condemnation across the board for the abhorrent scenes witnessed during the programme.
UK authorities and HRI have indicated that they would support a full investigation into the practices shown at the abattoir and AIRO will advise members of any relevant updates. It was also noted during the meeting that Brexit has effectively removed the likelihood of any Irish based horses being exported for this purpose in the future. In relation to the microchip issue, AIRO understand that HRI together with An Gardai Siochanna have issued an investigation into this matter and again we will keep members informed with any outcomes.
Caren Walsh, AIRO director and HRI Representative received a vote of confidence at the meeting from her fellow directors. It was noted that Mrs Walsh has continually proven herself to be a loyal and committed racehorse owner, a huge advocate of horse welfare and a dedicated representative for owners at all levels.
AIRO are extremely aware of the responsibilities of owners in respect of welfare and the after racing care of horses. We are currently working on a proposal for a funding mechanism to help owners with rehoming and retraining of horses and are developing our website to include a section on aftercare to further assist them.
Further to the BBC panorama documentary ‘The Dark Side of Horse Racing’ aired on Monday evening, the AIRO would like to acknowledge the wonderful care and attention that is given to Thoroughbreds throughout the country. The vast majority of horses are afforded the highest levels of care and attention owing to the skill and empathy of many Irish trainers, stable staff and additional support professionals such as farriers, vets, physios and beyond. Furthermore, this care extends from birth far beyond the animals racing career and this is something we are proud of as an industry.
The AIRO were shocked, upset and disappointed at some of the content of the recent BBC Panorama documentary and wish to advise its members that the Board of Directors intend to discuss the issues in the programme as a matter of priority. There were many distressing images shown from the UK abattoir and practices such as those do not show an appropriate level of respect and care for the animal and is condemned by the AIRO.
Horse Racing Ireland have called on the relevant UK authorities to make a full investigation into these malpractices which we fully support.
We are delighted to announce, from the 6th of July, all owners will be permitted to return racing the day their horses runs. Owners and guests should continue to follow Government and HSE guidelines along with HRI Covid-19 protocols.
All owners will need valid AIR cards and a Health Screening Barcode to gain racecourse entry.
Ticketing has reverted to the pre-covid structure. Please visit the HRI website (www.racehorseownership.ie/tickets) for the owner ticket allocation details and procedures on how to request additional tickets.
All owners should hold valid AIR cards and request additional guest admission through the ownership website. Please note the ticketing deadlines.
For AIR queries or to arrange replacement cards please contact the AIR on 01 676 0911.
For details of the owner and guest ticket allocation, request extra tickets and to familiarise yourself with the relevant deadlines visit www.racehorseownership.ie/tickets/ .
Important! Health Screening Registration
Race Day Access