The National Disgrace


Another year and sadly we know more horses will die in the name of “sport”…

There will be a demonstration outside of the Aintree racecourse on Saturday 14th April, from 11.30am to 2.00pm – the day of the Grand National.

Press release from FAACE:

Grand National Warning

Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe (FAACE) is asking members of the general public to show compassion to racehorses and not attend or place bets on this year’s Grand National.

The Merseyside based organisation also asks animal lovers to come to the, by now traditional, yearly demonstration. This takes place opposite the main entrance from 11.30 to 14.00 on Saturday 14th April, the day of the Grand National. The demo is organised by FAACE in co-operation with Animal Aid and local groups.

These requests are based on the high death toll and injuries to horses in the three-day meeting at Aintree. Last year the organizers came under fire when live TV transmitted images of two dead horses and reported on the excessive use of the whip on the winner “Ballabriggs”. This bad publicity resulted in minor changes to three of the fences and restrictions on the use of the whip. However, during a trial race in December 2011 three horses fell at those altered fences. Also, the whipping ban has been watered down by the British Horseracing Association to be almost non-existent.

“Unfortunately it is to be expected that horses will come to harm and die in this year’s Grand National. There is no way you can make a race like that horse-friendly and safe. The five deaths that occurred at the Cheltenham race meeting a few weeks ago proved this”, says Tony Moore, Chairman of FAACE.

It is his opinion that racing can only continue because of the money involved. Thus sponsors of horse racing will be targeted from now on. First on the list is UK Retailer Matalan. “They are having a style contest on Ladies Day. While the fashionistas dress up, horses die. Between 2007 and 2010 nine horses have died on Ladies Day.”

A Facebook page has been created to raise Matalan’s awareness that this kind of sponsoring is not a good idea:

Also this article via the Guardian:

Campaigners are calling for a betting boycott of next weekend’s Grand National, as latest figures reveal the death toll on Britain’s racecourses.

Animal Aid has launched a Sanctuary Not Cruelty campaign, appealing to people to send money they might have put on the race to a horse sanctuary instead.

At least 23 horses died as a result of injuries on racecourses in March alone, with five animals dying in the first two days of the Cheltenham festival.

The death last week of Fox Hunt, a winner at Royal Ascot, caused an outcry at the Dubai Gold Cup. The race was stopped after Fox Hunt broke a leg and collapsed during the running but was then re-scheduled for later in the day, when a further two horses were fatally injured.

There was huge controversy at last year’s Grand National, when two horses died as a result of falls and Jason Maguire, the rider of the winning horse, Ballabriggs, received a five-day suspension for using his whip with excessive frequency.

Animal Aid spokesperson Fiona Pereira said: “We are asking the public to remember how they felt about the 2011 race and to donate their usual ‘flutter’ to our two specially selected sanctuaries, both of which require funding to rescue horses in need – including ex-racehorses.

“As well as individuals, we hope that company sweepstakes will support our initiative. Helping racehorses in their retirement is particularly important. It’s one of horse racing’s darkest secrets that many thoroughbreds face neglect or are slaughtered for meat when their racing careers are over or they are deemed financially unviable.”

There have been changes to two fences at Aintree, near Liverpool, ahead of Saturday’s race. From a field of 40 horses, only 19 finished the race in 2011. Twenty horses have died as a result of competing in the Grand National since 2000.

» Read more

» Animal Aid
» Race Horse Death Watch
» Merseyside Animal Rights

One thought on “The National Disgrace

  • 14th April 2012 at 10:14 pm

    I agree with everything written here. How much longer will this be allowed to go on for? Surely there would be little difference if the fences were reduced to a size that posed no risk to the horses. The jockeys have the luxury of a decision based on experience, the horses do not. I will always support this cause. Good luck!


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