1. Animal sentience
A move to enshrine animal sentience in law has moved a step closer amid mixed reactions from MPs and lobbyists. The Animal Welfare (Sentience) Bill, which completed its House of Lords stages in December 2021, passed its second Commons reading on 18 January. This means it is a step closer to becoming law, passing now to the committee stage. The short bill, which is only six clauses long, recognises that animals are sentient beings and would create a body to oversee UK ministers’ efforts to take account of their welfare needs when drawing up and implementing policy. The wording of the bill sparked strong cross-party debate, with support from some, questions from many and concerns of unintended consequences from others.
2. Jubilee charity race
A new charity race in honour of The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee will be held at Newbury on 14 May, Lockinge Stakes day. The race, in aid of the Injured Jockeys Fund (IJF), is open to experience riders from a diverse demographic.“With HRH the Princess Royal as our patron, and her grandmother, HRH the Queen Mother before her, we wanted to do something to honour and celebrate this historic Platinum Jubilee year,” said IJF chief executive Lisa Hancock. “With Newbury being a racecourse often visited by The Queen, we thought this would be the perfect venue.”
3. Pros competing at lower levels
Dressage rider Alice Oppenheimer has weighed in on the debate over whether or not top pros should be allowed to compete at lower levels. Alice speaks of how dressage compares to the other Olympic disciplines in this regard and the pluses to what British Dressage’s (BD) existing competition structure means for the sport. “In BD, there are championship opportunities available for everyone and, as a gold rider, I need to keep training to try to improve enough to beat Charlotte – at any level. That is what pushes the sport to improve and will keep Britain winning medals in the future,” she says.