Grand National kills more horses

What kind of society allows this to happen to animals for fun?

“Only 19 of the 40 horses that started the race finished it. Ten fell; five were pulled up; four unseated their riders; and two were brought down by other fallers.

The two horses that died fell during the first circuit of the four-and-a-half-mile race. Ornais tumbled at the fourth fence, breaking its neck, while Dooneys Gate fell at the sixth, Becher’s Brook, breaking its back. Their falls led to both fences being bypassed in the second circuit, the first time such action has been taken in the history of the Grand National.”

The race also appeared to have taken a heavy toll on Ballabriggs, which was given oxygen and doused with water to cool it down. Its rider, Jason Maguire, had to dismount and enter the winner’s enclosure on foot. Three of the first four horses to finish were too exhausted to enter the winners’ enclosure and went directly to their stables.”

This kind of thing happens every year – it’s normal. Covering the carnage, the BBC commentator Mick Fitzgerald referred to the dead, named Ornais and Dooney’s Gate, as ‘obstacles’. Lost for words – luckily others are speaking.

Bill Oddie and others wrote to The Guardian urging a boycott:

“We will not be putting a penny on the race and hope the public will join us in forfeiting what may seem like a harmless flutter, or an innocent office sweepstake, in favour of a safer, improved Grand National.”

Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe organised a demo:

The League Against Cruel Sports have been campaigning for a less gruelling course for over a decade.

Animal Aid’s Racehorse Death Watch site counts 676 deaths since mid-March 2007. Animal Aid’s director Andrew Tylers writes:

‘When horses are killed at the Grand National meeting, their deaths are not accidents but entirely predictable. The public has been conned into believing that the Grand National is a great sporting spectacle when, in reality, it is straightforward animal abuse that is on a par with Spanish bullfighting. This race should have no future in a civilised country. The BBC deserves special condemnation for all but concealing news of the deaths. In fact, one of its commentary team described the dead horses as they lay on the course as ‘obstacles’ – which was particularly disgusting and callous.’

I’d use the word ‘sick’. See Animal Aid’s series of reports, Running For Their Lives.

And if they don’t die or break down on the course, many race horses end up as pet meat.

Ban racing.


2 thoughts on “Grand National kills more horses

    • You’re right. There’s a lot of things about our ‘heritage’ which we would do best not to resurrect. Duels and dancing bears come to mind. Freak shows. Stocks. Ducking witches. The lovely heritage list goes on.

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