A Philosophic Enquiry into the Animal Welfare Issues in the Sport of Horse Racing
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The issue of animal welfare in the sport of horse racing has been deemed a contentious sporting issue by some. Lobbyists and animal liberation activists call for a complete ban on horse racing and events such as the Grand National held at Aintree racecourse as horses can feel suffering as sentient beings just the same as humans. A softer approach would argue that animals should not be ascribed the same moral rights that human beings are given the legitimacy of some of horse racing’s “sharp practices,” for example the use of the whip on horses, or the destruction of horses that are injured, past their prime, or deemed to be useless. These are just examples of a number of particular issues that could potentially be considered contentious in the sport of horse racing. Whilst arguing this, however, the people that rake the softer approach do support the moral legitimacy of the practice as a whole. Defenders of a complete ban might argue that horse racing is a form of speciesism. In other words, that horses and other animals should be given the same moral rights as humans. I argue, however, that the approach towards a complete ban is not necessary and certain methods can be used to resolve the issues. I will use examples of theorists whom have discussed animal rights and liberation issues in detail and use them to help me to explain my reasoning.