The Grand National should be banned blasts charity

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Animal rights campaigners hit out after five horses die at Aintree race meet

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11th April 2016 by Paul Cardwell 0 Comments

An animal rights group has called for the Grand National to be banned after five horses died at the Aintree race meeting at the weekend.

No horses were put down as a result of the main race but Animal Aid described the whole event as utterly depressing and cruel after four animals died as a result of injuries sustained during other races which made up the three-day festival – making it the bloodiest for more than 15 years according to the charity.

Both Clonbanan Lad and Marasonnien were put down after the two-mile five-furlong Fox Hunters Chase on Thursday and on Friday during the Topham Chase, Gullinbursti and Minella Reception’s suffered horrific deaths when they both landed on and broke their necks. On Saturday, Kings Palace was pulled up lame in a hunt-hurdle race and was later destroyed.

Making horses race on that course does not add up to a sporting spectacle, but the most selfish form of animal abuse

Dene Stansall, Animal Aid’s horseracing consultant blasted: “The Aintree authorities and the official industry regulator, the British Horseracing Authority, have sought, over the last two years, to lure the public into believing that equine deaths at Aintree were now to be thought of as a rarity in this modern age.

"But history shows that, over the long term, the Grand National course continues to be a perversely harsh test for horses, and one that often proves lethal.

“Making horses race on that course does not add up to a sporting spectacle, but the most selfish form of animal abuse.”

Prior to the race, Animal Aid had called on the public not to bet on the event and instead donate money to race horse sanctuaries.

Speaking afterwards, a spokesperson for the campaign said: "Animal Aid has for many years called for an end to the Grand National. This year’s event demonstrated once again that it is a cruel, unreformable travesty of true sporting values.

"What we find heartening is that sections of the media and a growing a proportion of the public are waking up to the truth – aided significantly by Animal Aid’s diligent campaigning over many years. With opposition growing, the race’s future is far from secure."

During the Grand National race itself only 16 of the 39 horses and jockeys finished.

Run after heavy rain soaked the course, the race was more gruelling than previous years.

However, the event organisers defended the meet.

John Baker, the north-west regional director for Aintree's owners Jockey Club Racecourses, said it was impossible to remove all risk from any sport and said significant changes to the Grand National Course.

He added: "We've seen hundreds of horses compete safely since over the last few years."