14 April 2018

Horse Racing: The Most Brutal Sport In The World

Today is my annual post about the Grand National.  As always, some will read it, some won’t.  Some of you may look at the title of this post and turn away, not wanting my words to spoil your office bit of fun betting on the sweepstakes.  As ever, all I hope is that at least one person reads my blog today and changes their mind about making that bet. Forever.

The Grand National isn't the only horse racing event of the year of course.  Recently we had the Cheltenham Festival.

North Hill Harvey.  Dresden.  Sandsend.  Some Plan.

Sound familiar?  Probably not.  But they died for your viewing entertainment at the Cheltenham Festival this year.  A broken leg in the horse racing world isn't repairable.  A broken leg is a death sentence.  

Animal Aid began a record of the death of horses 11 years ago at the Cheltenham Festival.  Since then, 1677 horses have died.  That is 3 horses, every single week.  3 horses, A WEEK.  During the popular horse racing events and months, that figure increases.  In March alone 18 horses were destroyed due to injuries in a race.    

This weekend is the Grand National.  People who do not bet the whole year round get together and chose their horses, either with families or work colleagues.  It is a tradition.  After years of horses dying at every Grand National meet, they have at least improved the course and unlike places like Cheltenham who practically have fatalities every year, the Grand National hasn't had a fatality in five years.



Every year the course at the Grand National is improved.  Made safer for the horses, yet still last year 21 horses out of the 40 entered failed to finish.  In any other sport, it would be deemed too dangerous.  By a mile.  By 50 miles.  But because it is horse racing, it is somehow deemed acceptable.

When you make your bet today, what are you thinking about?  The possibility of winning a couple of pounds on  a five pound bet?  Probably.  What you won't be thinking about, what I want you to think about is a horse.  A horse who loves to run.  But a horse that doesn't know that he is entered into a race which could take his life if he breaks a leg, or a shoulder.  A horse who if he manages to make it through the 16 fences, 14 of which jumped twice, will be whipped to the finish line.  All for your two pound win.

So when you think about placing your bet today, ask yourself this.  Do I like seeing horses whipped?  Do I like watching a race where death is a very real prospect for the horses involved?  Do I want to contribute to an industry that values horses value at zero and the mob at one hundred percent?  I hope you know the answer to that question.  


We are a nation of animal lovers.  If you love animals, you do not want horses to be treated this way.

The organisers at the Grand National have started to listen.  It is time that all organisers of all horse races do the same until it is still a competitive sport, but not a fatal one.  Not one where a winner has been whipped to succeed.  

Make your choice.

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