Breaking news: demonstrator scales Trafalgar Square’s fourth plinth to protest against Grand National

Posted on the 11th April 2015

A supporter of national campaign group, Animal Aid, has just scaled the 4th plinth in Trafalgar Square to wrap the famous ‘Gift Horse’, by Hans Hacke, in a green banner that reads:

Horse Racing: You bet, they die

TIME: Issued at 6.18 am
DATE: 11 April 2015
LOCATION: Trafalgar Square, London

The daring protest is aimed at drawing attention to the dangers faced by race horses, made to run in the infamous Grand National race, which will take place today at 4.15pm.

The green banner is representative of the green screens behind which race horses are shot on racecourses. Animal Aid’s research shows that, on average, around 200 race horses are disposed of in this way.

The Trafalgar Square statue, ‘Gift Horse’, by Hans Hacke, was chosen because the skeletal sculpture reminds us of the horses who are victims of the racing industry. In addition to the 200 annual on-course victims, around 1,000 more are killed in abattoirs because the racing industry no longer has any use for them.

An Animal Aid analysis shows that, since 2000, 40 horses have died at the three-day Grand National meeting. Twenty-four of that number died on the Grand National course – 11 in the big Grand National race itself. Today, at 4.15pm, 40 horses will be made to face 30 hazardous jumps over a distance of nearly four-and-a-half miles. Past races tell us that fewer than half will finish.

Animal Aid’s Sanctuary Not Cruelty campaign encourages people to donate to a rescue centre caring for horses, rather than bet on the Grand National.

Says Andrew Tyler, Director of Animal Aid:

‘Today, Hans Hacke’s Gift Horse stands for every horse pressed into running in the Grand National. By scaling Hacke’s skeletal monument and covering his bare bones – picked dry, it might be said, by a greedy racing industry – our intrepid demonstrator is calling on the public to have pity on all horses exploited by racing. His message is simple: ‘you bet, they die.’

More information

  • Contact Andrew Tyler for interviews and photos on 01732 364546.

Photos from protest at Trafalgar Square

Video of the protest

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