Animal Aid


Posted 5 April 2008

A horse who was badly injured in last year’s Grand National was killed in the 2008 event on Saturday, after unseating his rider at the 20th fence and clearing the 21st, before appearing to get into difficulties and colliding with the rails.

McKelvey had been a star feature on BBC1 television's the One Show, as he received treatment for his tendon injury and was made ready for Saturday’s gruelling 4-and-a-half-mile event. He had recently been entered into two less taxing hurdle races – in which he failed to show any ability – before being confronted with the huge Grand National fences.

Once again the perversely challenging event brought numerous horses to the ground, some somersaulting and falling on their necks. Just 15 of the 40 starters completed the race. Some of the injured might meet the fate of last year’s Grand National victim, Graphic Approach, who was ailing for a month before being destroyed.

McKelvey was the third horse killed at this year's three-day Grand National meeting. On Friday at Aintree, Time to Sell and In The High Grass died after horrific falls in the crowded 2 mile 5 furlong Topham Chase, which was completed by just 12 of the 29 horses entered. Nine-year-old Time To Sell was having his 43rd race when he crashed to the ground and lay motionless after jumping the notorious 5ft 2in. high obstacle known as The Chair. In The High Grass died after he hit the top of the eighth fence and turned a complete somersault. It was the 25th race for the seven-year-old and the third he had been entered into in just a month.

Thirty-eight horses have died at the Aintree meeting since 1997 – eleven of them in the big race itself.

Said Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler:

‘For anyone who has a genuine concern for horse welfare, the Grand National is a nightmare to watch. Exhausted horses were crashing to the ground throughout this appallingly hazardous race. It is not a sporting event but a sick spectacle that plays fast and loose with the lives of horses. The BBC routinely plays down the death and suffering of Thoroughbreds. It has spent months promoting the supposedly heroic journey of McKelvey. Now he is dead - and predictably so. Let the BBC cover that - not as a tragic accident but as a cynical sacrifice with which it is complicit.’

More information from Andrew Tyler 01732 364 546.

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