The BHA has announced that it will ‘refuse to be coerced’ by Animal Rising, after the animal rights activist group said it will hold back from further protests in the result if the BHA engage in a debate with the group. 

The debate was set to be surrounding the morals of the sport and would have been broadcast on a national television platform.

However, Julie Harrington, Chief Executive of the British Horseracing Authority, said: “We will never allow British horseracing to be coerced into any activity by threats of protests.

“Animal Rising have shown by their reckless actions at the Epsom Derby that their public promises cannot be trusted. 

“They have demonstrated they are prepared to commit potentially unlawful acts and to directly threaten the safety of horses and people to generate publicity around their wider aims. These aims include the end of all use of animals by human beings.

“Spokespeople for the sport have already taken part in well over an hour of televised debate since April. 

“Throughout those debates the message was clear – that British racing is a sport which is proud of its welfare record, which provides an unparalleled quality of life for the 20,000 horses that compete each year, and which constantly works to minimise the levels of avoidable risk.”

Harrington added that she calls on Animal Rising to end what she described as ‘reckless acts’ against a sport legally enjoyed by millions of people every year.

Moreover, Animal Rising has brought up its intention to widen the aim of its action as Robert Gordon, a spokesperson for the group, stated: “Animal Rising will be looking to cancel the Greyhound Derby final in Towcester.

“It’s the biggest race in this cruel sport, arguably the most prestigious competition in the world with first prize money of £175,000, which is more than 10 times greater than the next most valuable race. This is the pinnacle of dog racing and we plan to be there to disrupt it.”

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