Horse abattoir

May 1, 2010

We conducted a report into what happens to racehorses at the end of their careers. This came about because we had done a lot of coverage of first class horse racing, and wondered what the reality was behind the glamour. I don’t have all the material that was broadcast, but it was pretty wide, and a very thorough look.

As part of that, I was given one of the strangest assignments of my career. I was asked to look at the darkest and least glamourous end to horses’ lives — at a horse abbatoir just outside Taunton. It is one of only two in the country, I think. The owners were very open with me, because I think they’ve had some problems with the media in the past and wanted to be as upfront as possible.

When I went I expected only to be interviewing the owner. But when I was talking to him, he suddenly asked me if I wanted to see the abattoir in operation. I didn’t know how I would feel about it, it but thought I probably ought to see as much as I could, and give as thorough and honest a portrayal as possible.

Here is my report. The piece was recut before broadcast, and here is what went out. A warning: both versions feature audio of a horse being shot.

Here is my original edit.


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