Showing posts with label horseracing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label horseracing. Show all posts

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.

8 April 2016

Nothing so Grand About the Grand National

I want to give you some names.  

Kingfisher Creek.  Provident Spirit.  Properus.  Clonbanan Lad.  Marasonnien.  Minella Recption. Gullinbursti.  

Sound familar?  Probably not.  But these are the names of seven horses who have died this week in UK horse racing.  At Ascot, Doncaster and Aintree.  Three fatally wounded, two collapsed and died after the race and two who fell and died during the race.

From the time that Animal Aid began their record, some nine years ago, 1378 horses have died in UK horse racing.  That is 3, every single week.

Tomorrow is the Grand National.  The nation's past time.  Families get together and play bets every year.  Workplaces have sweepstakes.  There are "jokes" about who will get the one who came last, or died.  Because we know that they die in the Grand National, we watch every year as it takes place.

The course is much safer they say.  The horses would not race if they did not want to they say.  But they cannot deny that in a race which is entered by the best race horses in the country, less than half have managed to complete the course in the past 3 years.  In 2012, only 15 made it.  As for the horse wanting to race, I am sure no one has ever managed to explain to them the odds of them dying, or that they will be beat with a mandatory whip whilst trying to get around the course.

Yes you did read that right.  Riders in the Grand National are actually required to carry a whip in order to race.

I'm not going to show you photographs.  Because we have all seen what happens.  It is more a surprise when no horses die in the Grand National then when they do.  But as the jockey Ruby Walsh said a couple of years ago "You can replace a horse".  

They are not given value, they are just ever replaceable stock, without worth; especially when they are injured.   When they die, as we saw in 2011, they are merely "obstacles in the way".

So what is so grand about the Grand National exactly?  We dress it is as being the nation's past time.  The one time a year that many ever place a bet.  We talk about what people are wearing, we have "Ladies Day"; we glamorous this barbaric institution with family fun and champagne.

The interesting thing to note is that we describe ourselves as a nation of animal lovers.  We recoil in horror at places like Spain with their bullfighting, calling it inhumane and disgusting.  Yet we think nothing of the fact that we routinely kill 3 horses every single week in a sport that cares nothing for their safety.

Imagine if this was any other sport.  Like football.  Can you imagine players dribbling the ball around a dying Wayne Rooney?  Theo Walcott being carried off on a stretcher and shot because his broken leg made him useless to the sport? People cheering as only half of the players made it through the game?  People cheering as a player fell and broke his neck, because their favourite player was still in the game.

You will either place a bet tomorrow or you won't.  My words will either affect you, or they won't.  But my mission, as it has been every year on this blog, is to give you the facts, and let you make up your own mind.  

I ask you a question, are we not better than this?

7 April 2015

The Grand National

Hello all!

I am once again guest posting for the fabulous Leah today who has kindly allowed me to post me ramblings twice on her blog whilst she has been having a break away.

Can I take a quick moment to wish her a very happy birthday and also happy anniversary!

Today I am posting my yearly post on the Grand National.  You can find what I have to say on the subject on Leah's blog here

As with every year, many will not read this post and those who read it may not care/decide to bet anyway; but if I can change at least one person's mind about what is the most dangerous sport in the world, I will be a very happy camper.

Would love to hear your thoughts, either on Leah's post or here. xxx

15 March 2012

Horses are Not for Courses

Imagine you were invited to join a sport where:
  • Someone whipped you in order to make you go faster/work harder/improve.
  • It would be classed as nothing unusual for someone to die.
  • Should you die/be badly injured, the event organisers, TV cameras and fans would think nothing of just merely covering up your body and carrying on the event around you.

Would you want to be part of that sport?  I certainly wouldn’t.  Even for the adrenalin junkies who might look at No2 and still think that it is a risk that they would choose to take, what about the other two points?  No, you wouldn’t choose a sport like that.

But yet, it is a sport.  A very popular one and all those things do happen.  Horse racing.

Animal Aid have been tracking the deaths of horses during racing since 2007 and incredibly, there have been 804 deaths since they started their record.  804.  That’s 3 a week.  That’s just in Britain alone.  With horse racing all over the world that figure is in fact much higher.    Update: since I wrote this post a year ago, the figure is now up to 944. 
Their findings are available for all to see, with the date, name of horse and the injury which caused them to be destroyed.  Here’s the link for you to see for yourself.
The jockey chooses to enter the sport.  He trains with the horse, rides with the horse, chooses to enter an event with the horse.  The horse?  Well he just likes to run.
The horse can’t be briefed for the race ahead.  He doesn’t know how many fences there are, how high they are, how many people and horses are going to be jostling around him for places.  He doesn’t know the fact that if he falls, he will more than likely be destroyed because he is then “useless”.

I was going to put a picture of here of horse racing and the falls.  But I can’t bring myself to.  If you are an animal lover they just make you sick to your stomach.
But this I will put on.  What the BBC called “an obstacle” in the Grand National last year.  I call it a travesty. 
"An Obstacle"

Horse racing is a business.  If people stop making the bets and boycott the events, a difference can be made.  It takes no effort on your part.  Just this year, don’t make your yearly Grand National bet.  If someone asks you to a race, say no.
When the public really get together and use their voice, their spending power and their opinion, it is amazing what can happen.  A horse may not be endangered, it may not be exotic like a lion or a tiger, but it certainly doesn’t deserve to be treated this way.