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Great Leighs is visited by Animal Aid's Spectre of Death on its Grand Opening Day
Posted 21 May 2008
Date: 28 May 2008
Time: 1300 hrs
Location: Main Entrance, Great Leighs Racecourse, Essex
Great Leighs – the first new racecourse to be built in Britain since 1927 – will see Animal Aid hold a demonstration on its formal, public opening day on 28 May.
Animal Aid’s Spectre of Death – a Victorian lady dressed in dark, gothic robes, wearing a striking hat that features a model race horse tumbling over a hurdle – will be amongst the protestors at the course, alerting race-goers and the media to the number of horses killed on racecourses across Britain. There have been more than 200 on-course fatalities since March 2007.
The racecourse at Great Leighs has been beset with problems, with racing on the Polytrack surface taking place ‘behind closed doors’ since 20 April. After just 16 races, the course witnessed its first equine death. St Andrews (IRE), an eight-year-old gelding, pulled up lame after just half a mile of the Epping Forest Handicap at the Essex racecourse on 30 April. Due to the severity of his injury, the horse was destroyed.
Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler:
‘If Great Leighs is supposed to represent state-of-the-art, safe, modern racing, then the outlook is depressing. The death of St Andrews, after just 16 races on a new surface at a new racecourse, is shameful. The industry repeatedly claims that courses are safe and that horses are in good health, yet up and down the country, horses are dying week in and week out. It is time to take the vital matter of horse welfare out of the control of the British Horseracing Authority, and ensure that these vulnerable animals are afforded proper protection.’
- Of the approximately 18,000 horses bred each year by the closely related British and Irish racing industries, only around 40% go on to race. Many of the unprofitable newborns end up slaughtered for meat, while those who do enter racing suffer a high level of fatal injuries and stress-related illnesses, such as gastric ulcers and bleeding lungs. Around 6,000 British Thoroughbreds leave racing each year, yet very few are properly provided for in their retirement.
- View our undercover footage of horse slaughter.
- Visit Race Horse Deathwatch.
- Read Animal Aid's report on race horse breeding and slaughter.
- For full background and interviews, contact Andrew Tyler or Dene Stansall on 01732 364546.
- ISDN line available for broadcast-quality interviews.
- Images are available on request.