“As a lifetime horse owner, this just breaks my heart! Another beautiful horse, falls & is put down due to spinal damage. These horses are pushed to the limit, so much so that many deaths occur either after winning or just finishing the race. But these deaths won’t stop because it’s all down to money…they more they have the more they want. But if a breeders horse goes down, say with a broken leg, he could be saved, but the owners won’t waste money on a horse that won’t race again!…I hate this sport just as much as rodeo! Yes horses love to run & race each other, but all these courses push the horses too far! Why not just have flat races over much much shorter distances; that will never happen because there is no danger involved. When it comes to the Grand National this year…put your money to another good use, don’t back the cruelty; if any suffer fatal falls, don’t say I didn’t tell you so!”
The Cheltenham Festival claimed another horse victim when 10-year-old Matuhi was destroyed after falling at the final fence in the 4pm race and suffered ‘an untreatable spinal injury’.
He was attended by vets behind screens, close to the main grandstand, for more than 40 minutes before it was reported that he was dead. The David Pipe-trained gelding was rated an outsider for the 2-mile-5 furlong chase, which featured a crowded field of 21 other runners.
Carrickboy seals shocks Byrne Group Plate win | Cheltenham Festival 20 But Matuhi Has Fatal Fall
On the video at 3.47 is the point that Matuhi goes down.
Despite his outsider status, before his fatal fall Matuhi had been taken by jockey Brendan Powell to within reach of the front-runners.
While Matuhi was still lying prone behind screens, the 4.40pm race went ahead as scheduled – bypassing the stricken thoroughbred.”How sickening is that? a horse laying near death, yet the show goes on, why? MONEY!
Says Animal Aid Director, Andrew Tyler
‘Matuhi was clearly exhausted when he fell at the very end of a long race and suffered devastating injuries.
He had been whipped at least five times shortly before he fell. Matuhi is yet another in the long line of Cheltenham thoroughbred victims whose fate is a stark reminder that the Cheltenham Festival – notwithstanding the expensive, glossy hype – is ultimately about broken bones and animal exploitation.’
“There was drama before the start when second favourite Cantlow was not allowed to start by the vets due to a nose bleed while Matuhi fell heavily at the last when third and had to be put down.”
As the racing industry PR machine gears up to hard-sell the Cheltenham Festival and the Aintree Grand National, a new Animal Aid report reveals that jump racing’s two favourite venues were the most lethal for horses during the 12 months of 2012.
Ten horses perished at Cheltenham – more than at any other course. But when horse deaths are assessed against the number of days’ racing in which they occurred, Aintree tops the list with six horses killed in just eight days of racing. The Cheltenham equine fatalities occurred at the course in 16 days.
The release of Animal Aid’s Deathwatch 2012 report marks the start of a concerted public campaign aimed at highlighting the brutal reality behind racing’s deceitfully glossy image.
Other initiatives during March and early April include:
- A visit to Cheltenham, on 7 March, by a converted ambulance emblazoned with stark protest imagery and messages. On the side of the vehicle, a powerful short film will be screened continuously. Leafleting will take place outside every major bookmaker in Cheltenham, and ethical cosmetics retailer, Lush, will feature a striking window display. This will draw attention to the horses who have died at recent festivals.
- Animal Aid has written to Cheltenham’s Liberal Democrat MP Martin Horwood, the Leader of the Borough Council, and to each councillor. The letters highlight Cheltenham Racecourse’s appalling death toll, and calls upon them to demand an explanation from those in charge of the racecourse. In a Gloucestershire Echo article (March 12, 2012), Mr Horwood was reported as describing the Grand National as a ‘dangerous pantomime’ and said that the Cheltenham Festival is ‘a class apart from all that’. Animal Aid has pointed out to Mr Horwood that, while the Aintree’s April 2012 meeting killed three horses, five died at the Cheltenham Festival just a month earlier.
- There will also be a protest on the first day of the Cheltenham Festival itself (12 March) at which ‘tombstones’ bearing the names of the dead thoroughbreds will be displayed, while a mourner reads out a short eulogy for each horse.
- A series of equally forceful initiatives relating to Aintree will be announced shortly.
The core of Animal Aid’s new Deathwatch report derives from the unique online database of the same name, established in March 2007, which records all known deaths on Britain’s racecourses. Details offered include the name of the rider, the injury sustained by the horse, the type of race and the racecourse condition. “Take a look at the database, see how many either won or finished then dropped dead…they are the one’s you won’t hear about!” http://www.horsedeathwatch.com/
In 2012, 143 deaths were recorded. However, the true figure is likely to be about 30 per cent higher. The British Horseracing Authority, racing’s regulator, refuses to publish clear and complete data on horses killed. While Animal Aid makes every effort to catalogue all horse fatalities, a number are missed. “Which means some can go on to win, return to their stable then have a heart attack or burst blood vessles…it’s sickening…this isn’t sport, this is torture for the poor horses!
Causes of the 143 deaths included broken limbs, backs and shoulders, as well as cardiovascular failure. Many of the injuries can be attributed to the ground being too heavy or firm, or to the difficulty of the fences.
One hundred of the 143 deaths occurred on National Hunt courses and no fewer than 43 of Britain’s 60 race courses saw a fatality last year. Multiple deaths at meetings were common. Cheltenham, Hereford and Taunton each saw three horses die in a single day of racing. Ten race courses saw two horses killed at a single meeting.
In recent years, it is equine fatalities at the Aintree three-day meeting that have attracted the most negative publicity. But over the long haul, the Aintree Grand National meeting and the Cheltenham Festival can match each other for the number of horses killed. Between 2000 and 2012, each event saw a total of 38 fatalities.
Cheltenham still holds the record for the most deaths in modern times on a single day of racing. At the 2006 Cheltenham Festival, no fewer than six horses died on the third day of the four-day meeting – three of them in one race. A further five had perished by the time that meeting was over.
Since the start of Deathwatch (March 2007), 43 horses have been killed at Cheltenham – more than at any other British racecourse. “Can I just say this is the only place i look to see who, what & how the horses died. I see no reason other than negativity for the race industry to show & tell all deaths, including those that have won, but died later in the day!”
Says Animal Aid’s Horseracing Consultant Dene Stansall:
‘This report makes for sad reading. Each of those 143 horses has an individual story to their death. Horrific limb injuries, broken necks and heart attacks are the price horses pay for public entertainment.
The British Horseracing Authority, which self-regulates the welfare of race horses, is clearly not fit for purpose. It should be replaced by an independent body, which will prioritise the thoroughbreds’ welfare.’
“ALL IN THE NAME OF ENTERTAINMENT, WELL I HOPE THOSE THAT ADD TO THIS MISERY BY BETTING, FEEL GOOD ABOUT THEMSELVES…ACTUALLY, THEY WOULDN’T GIVE A RAT’S ASS IF THEIR HORSE BROUGHT IN THE MONEY!!”
The Dark Side If Horse Racing – Please Don’t Back The Cruelty
Most people regard horse racing as a harmless sport in which the animals are willing participants who thoroughly enjoy the thrill. The truth is that behind the scenes lies a story of immense suffering. http://www.animalaid.org.uk/racing
Every year more than 400 horses are raced to death in Britain. The racing industry also slaughters thousands of ‘unprofitable’ animals who fail to make the grade. The Grand National at Aintree is particularly cruel and is designed to push horses to their limit and beyond. The majority of horses fail to finish the race, with equine death and injury being a routine feature.
We the undersigned: Believe that, however much welfare standards improve, the Grand National is morally unacceptable. We therefore call for a ban on this race.
Please sign the petition:-http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/f/ACTIVE/petition/?id=10&campaign=horse