Animal Aid

UK-wide protests against the Grand National

Posted 5 April 2007

Animal Aid calls for boycott of the notorious race

The Grand National is under the spotlight this week as protestors demonstrate outside high street betting shops and leaflet the public in around 50 UK towns and cities as part of Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Awareness Week. There will also be a presence at the Aintree racecourse on Thursday 12 April – the first day of the three–day meeting, which has killed 32 horses in 10 years.

Aintree, Britain’s second deadliest racecourse after Cheltenham, is due to stage the perversely difficult Grand National on Saturday 14 April. Covering a distance of four miles and 856 yards, horses are required to jump 30 obstacles – some of which include perilous drops, ditches and sharp turns. Forty horses usually take part – an excessively crowded field, which adds to the risk of collisions and falls.

Last week, Animal Aid launched Race Horse DeathWatch, a web–based initiative that will make public every on–course Thoroughbred fatality, and which follows the destruction of at least 15 horses in just 25 days of racing. Among the recent dead are three Grand National favourites, Little Brick, Nil Desperandum and Far From Trouble.

Says Andrew Tyler, Director of Animal Aid:

‘The Grand National is, by design, a hazardous course that routinely results in horses dying. Such suffering is both predictable and unnecessary. We urge the public to stop supporting the Grand National with their betting money and their attendance fees. There is no such thing as a harmless flutter. When people bet, they are funding a ruthless, lethal industry.’

More Information

  • For full background and interviews, contact Andrew Tyler or Dene Stansall on 01732 364546.
  • We have an ISDN line for broadcast quality interviews.
  • View Race Horse Deathwatch.
  • View our powerful 90–second web film on horse racing.

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 14th.
  • An Animal Aid study of available evidence – including 15,000 pages of race results – indicates that an average of 375 horses are raced to death every year. One–third die on racecourses, while the others are destroyed as a result of training injuries, or are killed because they are no longer commercially viable. In addition to these victims are the horses bred for racing every year but considered unsuitable for the task. As many as 2,000 of these ‘failures’ are slaughtered annually for meat.
  • Read Animal Aid’s report on breeding and slaughter.

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