Animal Aid

With the Grand National imminent... Horse racing cruelty forced onto the political agenda

Posted 24 March 2006

Following the carnage of last week's Cheltenham Festival, when nine horses died - and in the run-up to the notorious Grand National - Animal Aid is forcing horse racing onto the political agenda. The national campaign group has sent briefing notes to every MP, outlining the intrinsic cruelty and suffering that lies behind the industry's glamorous façade.

Animal Aid believes that the racing industry has misled the public and policy-makers for too long, deliberately concealing the number of horses who die each year. By so doing, it has avoided any meaningful regulation, and perpetuated the image of the 'harmless flutter'. The campaign group's political push represents just one aspect of its anti-horse racing campaign, which will also involve demonstrations outside betting shops around the UK, a disturbing 90 second web viral campaign and a presence at Aintree.

Cheltenham, according to Animal Aid's extensive research, is Britain's most hazardous track, seeing 21 deaths in just 54 days of racing during the 2004 National Hunt season. Aintree is the country's second most deadly course. Since 1997, the three-day meet has killed 30 horses. Shockingly, both courses are owned by racing's own regulatory authority, the Jockey Club.

Says Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler:

'For too long the Jockey Club has wrung its hands and professed amazement that horses are killed by racing. But the fatalities are as predictable as they are shocking. It is time for the government to rein in this exploitative industry.'

  • For further information or to arrange an interview, please call Chris Anderson on 01732 364546.
  • ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.

Notes to Editors

  • Animal Aid's Horse Racing Awareness Week takes place during the seven days leading up to the Grand National, which this year takes place on Saturday April 8th.
  • An Animal Aid study of available evidence - including 15,000 pages of race results - shows that around 375 horses are raced to death every year. Some 30% of these annual fatalities occur during, or immediately after a race, and result from a broken leg, back, neck or pelvis; fatal spinal injuries; exhaustion; heart attack, and burst blood vessels in the lungs. The other victims perish from training injuries or are killed after being assessed by their owners as no-hopers.
  • For a general report on the horse racing industry, see: Riding For a Fall.
  • Around 375 horses are raced to death every year. See our horse deaths report.
  • View our powerful 90-second web film.

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