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Stakeholder Perceptions of the Challenges to Racehorse Welfare

By Deborah Butler, Mathilde Valenchon, Rachel Annan, Helen R. Whay, Siobhan Mullan

Category Journal Articles

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


Marcy Wilhelm-South

Purdue University

Date 2019
Publication Title Animals
Volume 9
Issue 6
Pages 11
Publisher MDPI
DOI 10.3390/ani9060363
Language English
Additional Language English
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal roles
  2. Animal welfare
  3. Employees
  4. Human-animal relationships
  5. open access
  6. racehorses
  7. staff
  1. open access