VEGANS and veggies have called for the closure of Worcester Racecourse following the death of three horses there in a single month,

Worcester Vegans & Veggies, who have mounted protests outside the racecourse in the past, are now stepping up calls for more to be done but a racecourse spokesperson said the safety of both horses and jockeys was 'paramount'.

Vegans and veggies communications officer Ronald Lee said: "The three horses that were destroyed were Casey Ryback, a five-year old gelding who fell and broke a foreleg on July 16, Italian Legace, a nine-year old gelding who was brought down and badly injured on July 23 and Secret Beau, a four year old gelding who was pulled up after suffering serious injury on July 29.

"The racecourse has always been one of the worst in the country for horses being killed, but now it appears to have got even worse than ever with these three horses losing their lives in rapid succession and we want it closed as soon as possible to prevent further suffering and slaughter.

"These latest deaths mean that 36 horses have lost their lives on the course since fatalities started being recorded in 2007. We would like the racecourse turned into a positive and useful amenity, such as a public park or an area for human sporting activity, so that no horses can ever be killed there again."

A spokesman for Arena Racing Company, which manages the racecourse, said: “Equine welfare is a top priority at Worcester Racecourse as it is at all British racecourses. Of course we regret any serious incidents that occur and always express our sympathies to the connections of the horse concerned.

"The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) is the Government recognised body responsible for the regulation of Horseracing. Together with recognised welfare charities the RSPCA and World Horse Welfare, BHA is a leading signatory of the National Equine Welfare Protocol. The highest standards of horse welfare are demanded of all jockeys, trainers and racecourses and none of the 1,450 fixtures held annually in Britain can take place unless key BHA equine welfare criteria have been satisfied.

“As with any equine activity, Racing is a sport that carries risk, and as with any equine activity that risk can never be entirely eliminated. British Racing is open and transparent about the risks involved. From around 90,000 runners each year the average fatality rate is just 0.2 per cent, a figure which has decreased by 33 per cent in the last fifteen years.

"In return for this small level of risk, the 14,000 horses in training at any one time are provided with levels of care and a quality of life that is virtually unsurpassed by any other domesticated animal."

She also said the Angel Hotel Pershore Plum Festival Racenight at Worcester Racecourse in aid of Racing Welfare on Tuesday, raising £1,400 for the cause.