The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) has said that it will not be “coerced” by animal rights group Animal Rising's promise to halt protest action during the summer if the BHA partakes in a televised debate about the “morals of horseracing”.

Animal Rising made the claim earlier today (16 June) at a press conference. Julie Harrington, CEO of the BHA, said that the association will not be forced to conduct “any activity by threats of protest”.

“At a press conference today, Animal Rising said they will cease their protest activity this summer if British racing agrees to take part in a public debate about “the morals of horseracing,” Harrington said. “We will never allow British horseracing to be coerced into any activity by threats of protests.”

Harrington said that Animal Rising’s protests at the 2023 Epsom Derby – which the BHA hailed as “reckless and dangerous” last week – shows that their public declarations are not trustworthy.

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

Harrington added that horseracing spokespeople had taken part in “well over an hour of televised debate since April” and had communicated their belief in continuing to facilitate and promote horseracing.

“Once again I call on Animal Rising to end their reckless acts against a sport legally enjoyed by millions of people every year.”

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