Media Release

Vancouver Humane Society raises welfare concerns after three horse deaths at Hastings Racecourse 

VANCOUVER, August 10, 2023 – The Vancouver Humane Society (VHS) is once again speaking out against the use of animals in entertainment after recent reports that three horses lost their lives and another was injured in two weeks at Vancouver’s Hastings Racecourse.

A five-year-old horse named One Fifty One was euthanized due to an unrecoverable injury sustained during a race on July 16. On July 22, a three-year-old horse named Lent Me Twenty fell backward prior to a race at The Cup and died. A four-year-old horse named Memorandum was euthanized after sustaining an injury in a July 30 race. 

“It’s heartbreaking, but unfortunately not surprising, to hear of horses losing their lives at these events,” said VHS Communications Director Chantelle Archambault. “Horses’ lives are put at risk each time they step on the track.”  

The VHS pointed out that the stressful, high-speed nature of the races poses inherent welfare concerns. Experts have noted that thoroughbreds are often overbred for speed rather than skeletal strength, making their legs susceptible to injury. The events also use painful tools like bits and whips to control horses’ movements.  

“Unlike human athletes, horses are not given the choice whether to participate and their short careers are marked by fear,” said Archambault.   

Research shows that horses who begin high-intensity activities like racing at a young age have been found to have high rates of injury, and to decline and retire quickly. One study found that during the training and racing of two-year-old racehorses, 85% suffered at least one incident of injury or disease. Another found that of the horses that began racing at two or three years of age, only 46% were still racing two years later.   

When they are retired, typically around four to six years old, horses who can no longer generate a profit are at risk of being sent to auction. There, unwanted horses are sold to the highest bidder including horsemeat buyers.  

Archambault noted, “When we use animals for entertainment, we’re seeing them as objects rather than the sentient beings that they are. These incidents show once again that the safety and well-being of horses is not adequately taken into account.”  

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SOURCE Vancouver Humane Society   

For more information, contact Chantelle Archambault: 604-416-2903,