Way cleared to export British horses to China


The door has been opened for the export of British horses to China, kick-starting a trade estimated to initially be worth £10 million a year to the UK economy.

Britain and China have agreed terms for an export certificate that will allow the trade, expected to involve mostly British thoroughbred and jumping horses.

British Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss described it as a crucial agreement with Chinese authorities that would help to grow Britain’s £7 billion equine industry.

The new Export Health Certificate will allow for the export of horses to China with immediate effect.

Britain’s equine industry includes racing, eventing and breeding. It provides employment for up to 270,000 people and supports thousands of small businesses across the UK.

It was hoped the deal would also promote Britain’s saddlery and veterinary services overseas.

“I’m delighted that days after Great Britain finished top of the medal table at the World Equestrian Games, we’re able to announce a deal that could bring up to £10 million of new trade to our shores,” Truss said.

“We’ve long been a world leader in racing, eventing and breeding – it’s only right that our historic yet innovative equine industry is able to export its top-quality horses and expertise across the globe.”

She said the deal was the latest in Britain’s push to boost British exports.

Professor Tim Morris, the equine representative for the Animal Health and Welfare Board for England, said Britain led the world with its range of quality horses and ponies.

“We have a unique combination of the best thoroughbred and sport horses, and a wide diversity of unique breeds from Shetland ponies to Shire horses, and the equine industry, particularly the breeding sector, welcomes this access to the developing Chinese market.”

The export deal will add to existing UK arrangements which saw 4907 equines exported to 36 countries outside the European Union in 2013 – worth an estimated £108 million to the economy. British exports of horses increased by 12 percent between 2010 and 2013, from £244 million to £274 million.

It expected the first British horses will be exported to China by the end of this year.


3 thoughts on “Way cleared to export British horses to China

  • September 18, 2014 at 11:33 am


    THE racing world will be stunned to learn that around 600 thoroughbreds are believed to have been slaughtered in the last month in Beijing, following the abrupt decision to shut down the Chinese capital’s multimillion-dollar racing and bloodstock operation.

    Around 400 racehorses and 200 mares from a total equine population exceeding 2,000 are already thought to have been put down. They have been killed in humane fashion by lethal injection.

    Although around 200 yearlings are still being broken in and stallions are being well looked after, the likely fate of the remaining horses is unknown. The cull is understood to have stopped, amid suggestions that racing might start again in 18 to 24 months’ time.

    Without any prior warning, racing at the purpose-built equine centre on the outskirts of Beijing was suddenly closed for business at the beginning of October, when the businessman behind the venture pulled the plug over the failure of the communist government to legalise gambling.

    Latest estimates suggest that YP Cheng, a Hong Kongbased toy tycoon with huge racing interests, has ploughed as much as $100 million (around pounds 58.3m) into the establishment of a fully functioning racing and breeding centre in Beijing in what was, in effect, a massive gamble that the government would legalise gambling, thereby opening a huge untapped market.

    Since Beijing racecourse opened in August 2002, Cheng’s team have developed an international-standard racecourse with three circuits, two turf and one dirt, plus huge on-site training stables, state-of-the-art laboratory and veterinary facilities, plus a breeding operation capable of producing 470 foals a year.

    However, after attracting crowds of around 5,000 in 2004, the operation was scaled down this year after a government crackdown on illegal gambling unrelated to racing.

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    • September 18, 2014 at 11:47 am

      The comment above relates to an article from 2005.

  • October 9, 2014 at 4:49 am

    This is appalling!!! Are these animals being sent to China for food or entertainment?? Either way is bad, but at least in the racing industry, they might have a fighting chance at survival.


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