Animal Aid

East Anglian horse sanctuary to benefit from Grand National boycott

Posted 3 April 2012

A Norfolk-based horse sanctuary is hoping to benefit from a plea to boycott the Grand National this year. Hillside Animal Sanctuary, near Cromer, is one of two sanctuaries nationwide selected by campaign group Animal Aid as part of its Sanctuary Not Cruelty initiative. The public is being asked to donate any money they might have bet on the cruel and punishing Aintree race, to help rescued horses instead.

Animal Aid spokesperson Fiona Pereira explains:

‘Twenty horses have died on the Grand National course since 2000, and last year’s race was particularly brutal. Many people were disgusted by the sickening spectacle of two horse deaths, and also by witnessing the exhausted winning horse, Ballabriggs, being whipped to the line. Some punters even sent their winnings from the race to Animal Aid.

‘So, this year, we have launched Sanctuary Not Cruelty, asking the public to donate their usual “flutter” to our specially selected sanctuaries, both of which need funds to rescue horses in need – including ex-race horses. As well as individual punters, we hope that company sweepstakes will support our initiative.

‘Helping horses in their retirement is particularly important. It is one of horse racing’s darkest secrets that many thoroughbreds face neglect or are slaughtered for meat when their racing careers are over, or if they are deemed financially unviable.’

Wendy Valentine from Hillside says that the sanctuary was only too pleased to get involved in the campaign.

‘We are delighted to be part of this campaign against the Grand National and to show what goes on behind the scenes in the heartless racing industry. Hillside is home to more than fifty ex-racehorses who have been saved from slaughter. Their only crime is being just seconds too slow on the race track. Among these, are horses whose ancestry dates back to Mill Reef and Northern Dancer. Their supposedly “good breeding” wouldn't have spared them from an untimely end had Hillside not stepped in and saved them.’

Further details of the Animal Aid campaign are available from its special website: stopkillinghorses.com.

Further information

  • Contact: Fiona Pereira (Animal Aid) on 01732 364546 or Wendy Valentine (Hillside Animal Sanctuary) on 01603 736200

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