Animal Aid

City Centre Billboard Labels Aintree Horse Deaths a 'National Disgrace'

Posted 6 April 2011

A graphic billboard has been posted in Liverpool city centre showing punters the lethal reality behind the world-famous Aintree Grand National meeting. Located on Ranelagh Street, in the entranceway to Liverpool Central Station, the Animal Aid billboard features a stark image of a fallen horse and the words:

‘National Disgrace
31 horses died at the 3-day Aintree meeting 2000-2010
Don’t Bet on the Grand National’

Media coverage of deaths at the event is thoroughly inadequate. Last year, five horses perished, and five were also killed in 2009. Animal Aid’s experience is that the public, including veteran punters, are invariably shocked when they discover just how often horses die at Aintree.* The national campaign group hopes that the billboard will bring home to the people of Liverpool that, at its core, the Aintree story is one of horse exploitation and death.

A special Animal Aid website ( has been designed to tie in with the billboard. Visitors can view our powerful 90-second viral film, which shows the reality of deaths on British racecourses.

Says Andrew Tyler, Director of Animal Aid:

‘Aintree killed more horses than any other racecourse in a single day of racing in 2010. At last year’s three-day Grand National meeting, four horses perished in just one day - a shameful fact that should persuade prospective punters that there is nothing sporting about the Aintree event. People should not be duped into thinking that backing a horse is just a harmless wager. Betting money funds an industry that routinely kills the animals it is supposed to treasure. Our message is simple: “Help stop the cruelty. Don’t back the Grand National.”’

* The risk faced by horses at the three day Aintree meeting was starkly described this week by Dr Mark Kennedy, Senior Lecturer in Animal Welfare at Anglia Ruskin University: ‘If the risk to the [average] driver was the same as the Grand National – six deaths in 1,000 – then you would be lucky to still be alive after six months.’

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.
  • High-resolution images of the billboard are available on request. The low-resolution version can be viewed at

Notes to editors:

  • Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Awareness Week – seven days of campaigning and awareness raising – runs from 3-9 April 2011.
  • View our powerful 90-second web film at
  • Of the approximately18,000 horses who have been bred annually in recent years 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 thoroughbreds have been leaving British racing each year, yet very few go on to a sanctuary or adoptive home.

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