Two horses died during yesterday’s Grand National Disgrace, making a total of six over the whole event. More than half the 40 runners did not finish the course.

According to the report in the Daily Mail, “for the first time in the race’s history, the two fences were bypassed during the second circuit of the Aintree track – as the horses were hastily screened off with tarpaulins.”

Andrew Tyler of Animal Aid described the four-and-a-half-mile marathon as one of the most distressing races he could recall. The group calculates that 162 horses have died on race courses in Britain over the past 12 months, and their website carries a feature called Race Horse Death Watch, which keeps a running record of racing fatalities up and down the country.

Tony Moore, chairman of Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe, – which demonstrates every year at this display of callousness and cruelty, led a group of around 40 people protesting outside the racecourse.

On average, three horses a year are fatally injured over the three-day Aintree meeting.  The race is watched by 600 million people worldwide and it is reported that more than £250 million was gambled yesterday.
For a comprehensive report, including details of fatalities over the years, please see:

Please visit:

From our member in Ireland, Sandra Higgins:

My childhood memories of TV broadcasting of the Grand National are of turning away in horror and knowing deep inside me that this was very wrong.  As I grew into adulthood I realised that my childhood instincts were correct.  Children are much more in tune with animals and with the natural sense of justice, because they have not yet become encultured to swallow the social norms that dictate what is right and what is wrong.  Without ever examining the loneliness and pain that goes on in the horse rearing and breeding industries that underlie the Grand National, what we see on TV tells us everything we need to know.  To have a man sit in a controlling position on an innocent animal, whipping him to propel him to jump at heights he was never intended by nature to jump, and to run faster than he would naturally want to run, is simply wrong.  To say it is acceptable is to use the voice of the oppressor.

From our patron Andre Menache:

“As a veterinary surgeon in animal welfare for 30 years, I feel it would be appropriate to rename the well-known annual event at Aintree the “Grand National Disgrace”, in view of the number of horses killed (“Show dying horses, BBC told, as Aintree faces legal action”, 4 April).

It is time for the Government to apply the Animal Welfare Act to an event that can only be described as regulated animal abuse for the purposes of human entertainment.”

Note from QCA: the jockey on Ballabriggs, the winning horse this year, Jason Maguire, was banned for five days for excessive use of the whip.

James Lawton, writing in the Independent, raises this serious issue today, April 11. He writes: “reality – as former trainer Charlie Brooks recently pointed out in a bracing argument for the complete banning of the whip – is that the reason for its existence is precisely the one exploited by Maguire on Saturday. It is to dredge up the last physical reserves of a horse that has come under pressure, or, put another way, gone beyond the best that it has.”

For more, see – Sports section – Now we see the real use of the whip – to drive a horse past endurance.

Which leads us on to the following news:

Animal Activists hit Derby Day in New South Wales and demand:

‘No more whips!’


The Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses conducted a peaceful protest at the main gates at Royal Randwick Racecourse  demanding the use of whips in horse racing come to an end.

 The group says that the glamour and party atmosphere surrounding the biggest day on the NSW racing calendar masks the ugly side of racing where jockeys routinely beat their mounts in a pitiful attempt to force them to run faster.

 Horses can be whipped in excess of 30 times in a single race.

  “The fact that the racing industry condones whipping animals in this day and age is a disgrace,”says Elio Celotto, Campaign Manager for the Coalition for the Protection of Racehorses.

 “It’s time racehorses were given a fair go, not a beating.”

He says,” eliminating whipping from horse racing would create a level playing field whereby horses were allowed to run on their merits. We would have the same number of winners. No jobs would be lost and horses would not suffer.”

 Whipping was banned in Norway in 1982 without any negative impact on horse racing.

A study released earlier this year by Professor Paul McGreevy of the Faculty of Veterinary Science, Sydney University, concluded that whipping a horse does not make it run faster in the closing stages of a race. (1)

 He concludes his study by saying “under an ethical framework that considers costs paid by horses against benefits accrued by humans, these data make whipping tired horses in the name of sport very difficult to justify. However, it is worth noting that other ethical frameworks would not condone the practice even if it did cause horses to run faster.”

The Australian Veterinary Association’s policy on the use of whips is currently under review. The new policy to be considered in May reads: “Whips should not be used to increase a horse’s speed in a race. The use of the whip can cause excessive pain and it is a welfare issue when used on horses while racing.”

  If the policy change takes place as expected, the Racing Industry will find it impossible to justify the use of whips on racehorses.

 Reference (1) An Investigation of Racing Performance and Whip Use byJockeys in Thoroughbred Races

David Evans, Paul McGreevy  Faculty of Veterinary Science, University of Sydney, Sydney.

Media Contact: Elio Celotto, Campaign Manager CPR