Animal Aid

News of a Fifth Horse Death at the 2010 Grand National Meeting

Posted 20 May 2010

Animal Aid this week received a tip-off that a 4-year-old filly had been killed after the final race on the second day of the 2010 Aintree Grand National Meeting. After carrying out further investigations, we discovered that the young filly, known as Baba O’Curragh, had suffered a knee injury and was destroyed at the racecourse.

This means that five, rather than the reported four, horses died at last month’s three-day Aintree meeting. The other victims were Prudent Honour, Plaisir D’Estruval, Schindlers Hunt and Pagan Starprincess. Five horses also died at the 2009 event, and a total of 35 have perished since 1999.

Many of the races at the three-day meeting combine factors that put horses’ lives at extreme risk. The intense pressure to win is bolstered by media hype over big-name horses taking part. Some races have a dangerously high number of Thoroughbreds participating and this, combined with the fact that many will not have faced such fearsome obstacles before, makes equine fatalities all the more probable.

Says Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall:

‘The silence about the death of Baba O’Curragh in the racing press and in the race coverage by BBC TV is depressing but not surprising. Equally unacceptable is the lack of transparency by racing’s regulator, the British Horseracing Authority, as well as by the RSPCA, with whom they work. Their inability to tackle the huge numbers of horses being killed on British racecourses highlights a serious and deep-seated problem.’

More information

  • For full background and interviews, contact Andrew Tyler or Dene Stansall on 01732 364546.
  • An ISDN line is available for broadcast-quality interviews.

Notes to editors

  • View our powerful 90-second web film
  • Of the approximately 18,000 horses bred each year by the closely related British and Irish racing industries, only around 40 per cent go on to race. Many of the ‘low quality’ newborns are destroyed, 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 7,500 race horses leave British racing each year, yet very few go on to a sanctuary or adoptive home.

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