A DISTRICT councillor who is passionate about animal rights says she has taken a moral stand by refusing to attend council meetings being held at Newton Abbot Racecourse.
Animal rights campaigner, Cllr Janet Bradford, says she is disgusted that taxpayers’ money is going to the building which has held a full council meeting since the lockdown was lifted.
The site has been used instead of the Forde House chambers as the space is bigger and deemed more suitable for meetings, considering the potential spread of coronavirus.
However, TDC have only held one full council meeting since April.
Cllr Bradford says she is dismayed to see taxpayer cash going towards what she views as a ‘cruel’ sport.
In her spare time, Cllr Bradford can be seen peacefully protesting at the racecourse entrance on race days.
She said: ‘They [horse racing fans] always say the animals love it, but it’s all about money and gambling.
‘I had to go there for the local election because I had no choice, but I really don’t want to go there if I can avoid it.’
Cllr Bradford is part of the campaign group, Devon Against Horse Racing.
‘I think the racecourse site would make a wonderful country park instead,’ she said.
Patrick Masterson, managing director of Newton Abbot Racecourse said he took no issue with Cllr Bradford’s stance on horseracing in general.
Although he did with singling out the racecourse as a mixed use venue.
He said: ‘I have no issue with Cllr Bradford on her personal views on horseracing.
‘However, I do take issue with her views on the racecourse as a venue.
‘We employ 240 local people in various roles throughout the year and house other businesses within our 100 acre site.
‘Over the past 10 months we have accommodated the NHS for a testing station and since April we have helped the local surgeries by hosting the vaccine programme helping thousands of adults coming through this difficult time. We are more than just a sporting venue.’
He explained further: ‘Outside of racing we have many events that thousands of people come along to and enjoy.
‘Some events are run by local companies but a lot of events are run by the racecourse such as the antiques fairs, car boot sales, Christmas Fayre, Country Show, and Wellbeing Show that bring thousands of visitors to the town who spend money in the town.
‘I believe that the racecourse is a big part of the community of Newton Abbot as evidenced by the donation of land to build the cycle track adjacent to the railway line.’
He added: ‘Cllr Bradford seemed to have no issue with attending the racecourse buildings for the election count in May as evidenced by a video online.’