Call for Grand National ban after another year of ‘carnage’

Posted on the 3rd April 2004

Statement from Animal Aid on the 2004 Grand National

Animal Aid is relieved that the 2004 Grand National was completed without any horse fatalities but repeats its call for the race to be banned following scenes that one television commentator described as ‘carnage’.

Nine horses fell at notorious Beecher’s Brook on the first circuit and two more the second time around. Just 11 exhausted horses – out of 39 starters – were able to complete the 30 fences over a gruelling four and a half miles.

The deliberately-hazardous race could so easily have produced equine fatalities – one horse died last year and two the year before. The victims are shot following breaks or fractures of the leg, back and shoulder. Others have suffered heart attacks.

The 2004 event could still produce casualties if owners decide injuries received during the race render their animals commercially redundant. The injured animals would be destroyed. Animal Aid will be monitoring the future of all runners.

Twenty-nine horses have died since 1997 during the three-day Aintree meet – eight of them in the Grand National itself. The deaths are evidence of the suffering that is an intrinsic part of the event. Animal Aid believes that such carnage cannot be justified in the name of ‘sport’ and is therefore calling for a ban on the Grand National.


  • March 27 to April 3 was Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Awareness Week.The annual event is timed to coincide with the running of the Grand National – a deliberately punishing and hazardous race. The aim is to alert the public to this hidden suffering and dispel the myth of a ‘harmless flutter’. People are asked to boycott the Grand National. Free horse racing information packs are available by calling 01732 354032.
  • Every year, around 300 horses are raced to death around the country, having suffered broken legs, necks, backs and other serious injuries. They die on the courses themselves or during training. A much larger number of animals are disposed of at the end of their careers, or because they fail to make the grade. Some end up as pet food, are fed to hunting hounds, or sold from owner to owner in a downward spiral of neglect. Of equal concern are the endemic levels of stress-related illness, such as bleeding lungs and gastric ulcers.

Notes to Editors

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