The British Horseracing Authority had responded to welfare concerns by changing the Rules of Racing to ensure that all horses entered to run in Britain must be signed out of the human food chain by January 1, 2022.

Any entry for a race, or confirmation of entry in respect of early closers, will not be accepted for any horse next year unless it has been declared as not intended for human consumption via the Weatherbys App and the horse’s passport.

The decision to permanently exclude horses entered to run from the human food chain was agreed unanimously by the BHA’s cross-industry Veterinary Committee at its meeting on January 28, further to wider industry consultation and approval by the Rules Committee and BHA board in September.

The rule applies to all horses trained in Britain. The BHA is liaising with international jurisdictions and examining EU legislation regarding the practical implementation of this rule to include all international runners.

James Given, Director of Equine Health and Welfare for the BHA, said: “The sport’s Veterinary Committee made the decision to exclude racehorses who run in Britain from the food chain in January of this year. It was subsequently put out to consultation with the racing industry prior to being approved by the Rules Committee and finally by the BHA board in September.

“British racing has in place a euthanasia code of practice to aid trainers and owners with end-of-life decisions. The guidance is clear that whenever possible, euthanasia should be performed at home or in suitable surroundings.

“The transporting of horses to an abattoir to be sold for consumption should not, in my view, be classed as euthanasia and is not an approach that we should tolerate in our sport, which is why a rule preventing this practice is a positive step. I am confident that most British trainers and owners agree with me on this and already observe this principle.”