Animal Aid

UK-wide protests against the Grand National

Posted 28 March 2008

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 across the UK, as part of Animal Aid's Horse Racing Awareness Week. There will also be a presence at the Aintree racecourse on Thursday 3 April – the first day of the three-day meeting, which has killed 35 horses in the last decade.

Graphic Approach died in last year’s big race, while Lord Rodney and Into The Shadows were killed during other races of the 2007 meeting.

Aintree is due to stage the perversely difficult Grand National on Saturday 5 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.

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.’

Animal Aid's Horse Racing Awareness Week is staged during the seven days leading up to the Grand National.

Last March, Animal Aid launched Race Horse DeathWatch – a web-based initiative that makes public every on-course Thoroughbred fatality. In the first 12 months, Deathwatch recorded 161 on-course fatalities. Jockeys Richard Johnson and Tom Scudamore each had seven of their mounts die – more than any of their peers.

Notes to editors:

  • 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 ‘defective’ 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.
  • Read Race Horse Deathwatch:The First Year
  • View our powerful 90-second web film
  • View our undercover footage of horse slaughter

More information:

  • 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.

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