Animal Aid: TWO HORSES DIE AT PLUMPTON’S SUNDAY RACES

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“All horses love to run, my horse loves to gallop (without any coaxing, i.e. kicked, whipped) on the beach; then she stops when she has had enough! But there is a big difference between letting them run freely & forcing them to carry on galloping, when they have given their all, by whipping etc. This just totally pxxxxs’s me off! Why? Because it’s all down to money!”

Two horses, both aged six-years-old, lost their lives at Plumpton Racecourse yesterday afternoon (Sunday 11 May).

In the first race of the day, Head Rush was pulled up injured, halfway through the two-mile hurdle race in which he was competing. Then, in the final event of the day, a National Hunt flat race, grey gelding Eastbury fell to the ground injured and was seen struggling to get up.

Horse deaths at Plumpton are not rare. Two other horses, Ironically and Business Mover, were killed in almost identical circumstances to yesterday’s victims on the same race day in May 2013. And a total of 29 horses have perished at the East Sussex course since March 2007.

Animal Aid says that urgent action is required by both the racecourse and the British Horseracing Authority to prevent further horse deaths.

For further information

  • For press enquiries, please call Andrew Tyler or Dene Stansall on 01732 364546.

Visit Race Horse Death Watch for full listings of on-course deaths.

Posted 13 May 2014: News Link:-http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_horse/ALL/3099//

 

 

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HORSES: SANCTUARY NOT CRUELTY FOR EXPLOITED RACE HORSES

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“You have just seen what happens to racehorses on the previous post by PETA. I’m still in tears over it. So PLEASE…IF YOU TRULY LOVE ANIMALS; SUPPORT THEM, NOT THE INDUSTRY! P.S. The video is not in the original post, it’s just to remind people how horses suffer in horse racing!”

Posted 26 March 2014

Saturday (March 29) marks the start of Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Awareness Week, an annual campaign during which the public is asked to consider the sombre truth about an exploitative horseracing industry.

Just to remind you – The Dark Side Of Horse Racing

Uploaded on 25 Mar 2008

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.

On racecourses around the country, a total of around 200 horses die every year – usually from broken backs, legs and necks; or they suffer a heart attack. A large number of other horses at the start of their ‘careers’ are rejected as unsuitable, and others – when they have finished racing – are disposed of by being sent for slaughter.

The amount allocated for the roughly 7,500 horses who leave racing every year is pitifully small. The official rehabilitation scheme received just £50,000 from the Horserace Betting Levy Board for race horse care in 2013, out of a total of about £75m that was dispersed throughout the industry.1

Animal Aid supporters will be in high streets across the country during Horse Racing Awareness Week, communicating these hidden truths to a public that is told over and over by industry propagandists that race horses are cherished and cosseted like royalty.

Animal Aid’s detailed research over the past 15 years reveals something quite different: that the industry treats thoroughbreds as mere disposable commodities.

Animal Aid publishes details, as best we can, of every on-course death on British racecourses (because the British Horseracing Authority does not).

Our online database for this purpose is called Race Horse DeathWatch.

We also publish periodic annual reviews. The last one – for 2012 – revealed that ten racecourses saw two deaths in a single day’s racing, while three courses saw three horses die in a single meeting.

Based on industry data, we have calculated that around one in every 42 horses who begins the jump race season will be dead by the end of it as a result of an on-course injury.

Horse Racing Awareness Week is an ideal time for people to commit to supporting horses in need rather than bolstering the industry with their betting money or racecourse attendance fees.

The Animal Aid initiative that promotes this cause is called Sanctuary Not Cruelty. This year, the named horse charity is Hillside Animal Sanctuary of Frettenham, Norfolk.

Says Animal Aid Director Andrew Tyler:

A typical reject of the racing industry is Underwriter. He stopped being profitable and found himself about to be sold to a slaughterhouse. About 1,000 horses from the racing industry are butchered each year in British slaughterhouses.

Happily, when it came to Underwriter, the meat man was outbid by representatives of Hillside Horse Sanctuary in Norfolk – and that is where Underwriter is currently to be found, sharing his days with special friend Sweetie and 900 other rescued equines.

As we approach the frenetically hyped three-day Grand National meeting, our message to the public is to use the money that would have gone on a bet, to support a hardworking horse sanctuary.’

Underwriter and Sweetie are featured in a short film produced for this year’s Sanctuary Not Cruelty campaign.

News Link:-http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_horse//3075//

“The 175th edition of the Grand National takes place at Aintree on Saturday, 5 April 2014 – PLEASE DON’T BET ON THE CRUELTY!”

THE GRAND NATIONAL KILLS HORSES

THE GRAND NATIONAL KILLS HORSES

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BATTLEFRONT DIES ON THE FIRST DAY OF THE GRAND NATIONAL MEETING

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“OMG…the dreaded day is ahead…& it’s started already, one horse dead, although that was through a heart attack, so one has to question, why was he racing in the first place? was it just about MONEY!!!”

“Please if you love animals, especially horses, don’t back on the cruelty! These horses may well be very well cared for but at what cost? their life, in one race! I am dreading the Grand National & would ask everyone to pray that all horses finish the course & get to go home without any incident!”

“The spokes people at the Grand National have to mention a horse that has gone down, because it’s live TV. But you don’t hear them mentioning the ones that have gone back to their stables & died of heart attacks like Battlfront R.I.P or other horses who have burst pulmonary arteries etc.” 

The Grand National course, which has undergone what have been described as major safety improvements, claimed an equine victim today (4 April), when 11-year-old Battlefront collapsed and died with a suspected heart attack.

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2013/04/04/article-2304044-1917423A000005DC-297_634x371.jpg

He was being ridden by Katie Walsh, who earlier this week triggered controversy when she seemed to trivialise the deaths of horses on racecourses (‘these things happen, and they’re horses at the end of the day’), and claimed that race horses are looked after ‘better than some children’.

Battlefront had been racing in the 3.40 Foxhunters’ Chase, which is run over 18 fences on the Grand National course. Walsh pulled him up when he appeared to become distressed after jumping the challenging Valentine’s Brook.

He had been carrying an exceptionally heavy weight of 12 stone. Twenty-three other horses were entered into the 2m 5f event. It has been reported that four of them fell, another was brought down, several were pulled up and just 14 of the 24 finished.

Battlefront is the 23rd horse to have died on the Grand National course since 2000 – eleven of them having perished in the big race itself.

report published by Animal Aid last month identified Aintree as the country’s most lethal racecourse for horses when deaths are calculated in relation to the number of days’ racing.

Says Andrew Tyler, Director of Animal Aid:

‘The Aintree authorities and the British Horseracing Authority have been claiming that major new safety measures and efficiencies would eliminate much of the risk associated with racing on the Grand National course. But today’s Foxhunters’ Chase, in which Battlefront lost his life, was stomach-wrenchingly chaotic from start to finish. Several horses fell or were pulled up, tired and potentially injured. It was both utterly depressing and served as confirmation that the Aintree authorities have got it badly wrong once again.’

For more information:Contact Andrew Tyler or Dene Stansall on 01732 364546.

News Link:-http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_horse//2860//

The Grand National meeting at Aintree suffered its first fatality on day one this afternoon as Battlefront collapsed and died after the 3.40 John Smith’s Fox Hunters‘ Chase.

The horse, ridden by Katie Walsh, was pulled up at the 11th fence of the 2m 5f chase, which was won by 100/1 long shot Tartan Snow.

Unfortunately 11-year-old Battlefront, trained by the jockey’s father Ted, then suffered a suspected heart attack on the way back to the stables and died.

Professor Chris Proudman, veterinary advisor to Aintree Racecourse, confirmed the news, saying: ‘We can confirm that Battlefront was pulled up at fence 11 of the John Smith’s Fox Hunter’s Chase on the Grand National course by his jockey Katie Walsh and sadly afterwards he collapsed and died.

News Link:-http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/racing/article-2304044/Battlefront-dies-Grand-National-meeting-day-one.html#ixzz2PVz6zhvu

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Changes to the fence course:- WHW…Video

Working towards a safer Grand National


Published on 4 Apr 2013

World Horse Welfare Chief Executive, Roly Owers, discusses the changes being made by Aintree Racecourse to the Grand National 2013 fences and course, including the new fence cores. 

Find out more about World Horse Welfare’s work with sport regulators; http://www.worldhorsewelfare.org/sport

Just a few of the many petitions to sign:-

Recession doubles the number of racehorses being destroyed in abattoirs

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The number of racehorses destroyed in the UK’s abattoirs has more than doubled over the last year, triggering calls from animal rights groups for the racing industry to do more to help thoroughbreds once their racing careers are over.

The rise comes as charities warn that the recession is having an effect on the welfare of all types of horses and ponies, with many owners struggling to pay for the upkeep of their animals.

Yesterday’s Epsom Derby, attended by an estimated 200,000 racegoers, proved the continuing popularity of horse racing. But critics say not enough money generated by the industry is being allocated for the welfare of thoroughbreds after their racing careers have finished.

A report by the British Horseracing Authority says that in 2011 the number of thoroughbreds reported dead to the horse passport issuing authority rose by 29%, from 1,994 in 2010 to 2,574.

The report, The Effect of the recession on the welfare of British Thoroughbred Horses, notes: “Of these, 1,127 horses either in training, breeding or out of training were reported as killed in abattoirs, from 499 horses in 2010, an increase of 126%.”

Dene Stansall, horse racing consultant at Animal Aid, a charity that campaigns against horse racing, described the report’s figures as disturbing. “They [the horse racing authority] have not got to grips with the problem,” he said. “For years more horses have been bred than have been needed.”

But Professor Tim Morris, director of equine science and welfare at the authority, said the figures should be seen in the context of the 1 million horses on the UK’s equine database. “While a 126% increase may sound a lot, in absolute terms it’s not a big number,” Morris said, pointing out that the industry was heavily regulated so that the welfare of its animals was often to a higher standard than that afforded other types of horses and ponies.

“To solve this problem we’ve got to stop breeding so many, and then we won’t have to put so many down,” said Carrie Humble, an independent equine welfare consultant. “But I would rather see these overproduced horses dead than suffering.”

Morris said the industry had taken steps to reduce the number of horses entering racing to ensure there was not an oversupply of thoroughbreds during the economic downturn.

The authority report notes: “From 2008 to 2011 there has been an overall reduction of 38% in foals registered (falls of 45% in Ireland and 24% in Great Britain).”

But Stansall questioned whether the trend would continue downwards: “Whilst the supply has gone down, as soon as the economy picks up it will rise again.” Stansall said that, as many racehorses were owned by syndicates, it made it difficult to determine who should take responsibility for the horse’s future welfare after it had finished racing.

“If you’ve got a racehorse you have to commit to that animal,” he said, pointing out it often took a couple of years to calm the horse down so that it could be ridden by non-jockeys.

The disposal of horses in UK abattoirs is part of a wider European trend. The number of horses slaughtered at DAFF (Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food) abattoirs in Ireland rose from 3,220 in 2009 to 7,296 in 2010.

News Link:-http://www.guardian.co.uk/sport/2012/jun/02/recession-number-racehorses-destroyed-abbatoirs

Champion jockey has seen an incredible 20 mounts die during the last five years

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One of the country’s leading jockeys has had 20 of his horses die during or after races in the past five years, it emerged yesterday.

Fatalities: AP McCoy riding Synchronised at the 2012 Grand National, shortly before their fatal fall

Two other top jockeys have suffered the deaths of 17 and 16 horses respectively over the same period.

The figures, produced by an animal rights group, fuel claims that horse racing is cruel, and should be restricted.

Animal Aid say that the jockeys’ death rates are broadly reflective of those across the entire sport, with the top riders having more deaths just because they have more races.
The figure of 20 was for champion jockey Tony McCoy, whose mount Synchronised died in last month’s Grand National. In the same race, According To Pete also died, leading to a wave of concern about welfare.

At the time, McCoy, one of Britain’s most successful jockeys and BBC Sports Personality of the Year two years ago, said: ‘It is one of those terrible things you wish would never happen.’ He described Synchronised, on which he had won the Gold Cup at Cheltenham in March, as ‘a horse I won’t ever forget’.

Last year alone, McCoy’s mount Kerensa died in a race at Towcester in December, A Stones Throw died after a race at Market Rasen in July, Zarinski also died at Market Rasen in January, and Lethal Glaze died after the races at Cheltenham on New Year’s Day. With the figures suggesting McCoy has ridden in 3,987 races over the past five years, he has lost a horse every 199 races.

Fellow jockeys with high death counts since 2007 include Richard Johnson, with 17 lost horses, and Tom Scudamore, with 16. Animal Aid says Scudamore has lost one horse every 167 races. The group’s director Andrew Tyler said 180 horses died in British race meetings in the past year.

He added: ‘Most people would be shocked that so many horses die after being raced by these top jockeys. However, these jockeys are actually no worse than the average

‘They have accumulated the highest death tallies because they ride a lot of races. The real point is that this kind of attrition rate is typical of all jump racing. The sport is inherently lethal to horses.’

The British Horseracing Authority and the Professional Jockeys’ Association accepted the figures, but defended racing.

Robin Mounsey, of the BHA, said: ‘British racing is among the world’s most regulated of animal activities and we are very open about injuries and fatalities.’ A BHA spokesman said there were 95,000 races run by individual horses in Britain last year. He added: ‘In 2011, the overall equine fatality rate was 0.19 per cent of these 95,000 runners.’

Jockeys’ Association spokesman Paul Struthers said: ‘Leading jockeys will ride far more horses per year than others, so, simply by the law of averages, they are more likely to see some of their mounts suffer fatal injuries.’

  • AP McCoy tops ominous chart, losing one horse for every 199 he has ridden since 2007
  • List compiled by animals rights group to show dangers of racing

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2150658/Champion-jockey-AP-McCoy-seen-incredible-20-mounts-die-5-years.html#ixzz1wBRI4yfi

 

As a vet, I say: Ban this cruel spectacle – Grand National

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By LUKE SALKELD

Sprawled on the ground, limbs tangled, necks wrenched at agonising angles, the photographs of the fallen horses at Saturday’s Grand National were painful even to look at. Yet millions take pleasure in this cruel spectacle.

On Saturday the country gathered around its TV sets, anxiously clutching betting slips and sweepstakes pull-outs.

But I’m afraid I wasn’t among them. I cannot bear to watch a single moment of the race. To me, the Saturday of the Grand National is one of the most depressing days of the year.

I say this not because I am some kind of puritan killjoy but because, as a vet and animal rights specialist, I am appalled at the amount of suffering the horses have to endure.

Neptune Collonges runs clears as According to Pete and jockey Henry Haynes and On His Own and Paul Townshend fall at Bechers

Each year I dread the news of another horse having to be put down – ‘destroyed’ as some commentators thoughtlessly put it – after a gut-wrenching fall which leaves horse and rider stricken on the turf.

This weekend’s race was a particularly distressing spectacle with two horses dying after terrible falls. Nine-year-old gelding Synchronised, who won the Cheltenham Gold Cup earlier this season, broke a leg and was put down.

According to Pete was also put down after falling on the second attempt at Becher’s. Two other runners, Killyglen and Weird Al, sustained injuries during the race.

As the owners of the winning horse Neptune Collonges opened bottles of celebratory champagne in the enclosure, tarpaulin fences were being hastily erected to shield the bodies of the two fallen horses.

 The Grand National might be a spectacle that captivates the British public, but for me it simply serves as a reminder of the absolute disregard for animals and their welfare which some humans seem to have.

For too long, the cruelty of the race has been blithely ignored by the horse-racing authorities and the race-going public.

It shouldn’t be like this. Sport, after all, is meant to be an uplifting activity, reflecting the quest for excellence and heroism in competition. But there is nothing remotely inspirational or heroic about forcing horses to gallop round a dangerous course at high speed and risk sustaining painful, even fatal falls.

In the Grand National alone, ten horses have been killed since 2000. And last month, the Cheltenham race meeting was overshadowed by the death of five horses.

We would not tolerate this callous approach towards human competitors.

If, in the Olympic Games, several athletes broke bones during, for example, the 3,000 metres steeplechase the event would either be dropped or the course drastically altered.

 Formula 1 motor racing, radical new standards of safety were introduced following a spate of deaths in the 1970s. These included improvements to cars and better layout of  tracks, measures which helped to achieve a dramatic fall in fatalities.

There is nothing like the same concern for horses’ welfare shown in the National. The deaths and injuries to the animals seem to be regarded as, at best, nothing more than inconvenient consequences of the race and at worst ‘just one of those things’.

The brutality of last year’s competition in particular – where only 19 horses finished out of a field of 40 – was compounded by the sickening sight of the exhausted horse, Ballabriggs, being whipped to the finishing line to win the race.

The central failing of the Grand National, as with all steeplechase racing, is that the horses are not physically designed by nature to leap over high fences. Their bodies are not strong enough, nor are their legs sturdy enough. Every time a horse jumps over an obstacle, especially with an added human load, it puts tremendous pressure on its two front legs as it lands.

Mankind has, of course, bred horses for specific tasks, such as mighty dray horses, with their tree trunk legs for pulling carts. But the bitter paradox of racing is that the breeding of horses for speed directly undermines their ability to cope with jumps. For what a racehorse owner wants is a thin, light creature which can move as fast as possible – exactly the type of horse most likely to be vulnerable when forced over jumps of more than five feet high.

 This is slightly mitigated by the fact that the truest thoroughbreds are generally kept for the flat races, with the sturdier animals competing over the jumps.

But even so, this does not alter the fact that these National Hunt horses are still bred for speed, and therefore they are required to operate far beyond the capacity of their bodies’ skeletal strength.

The problem is compounded by the uniquely arduous nature of the Aintree course, which is four-and-a-half miles long, having been extended by half-a-mile in 1975. The horses have to jump over 30 fences, which themselves are larger than those on any other course in Britain.

In truth, the Aintree course is so demanding that, over the last decade, only 36 per cent of horses have actually been able to finish the race.

The Grand National’s defenders claim that the horses actually enjoy the races, otherwise why would they carry on racing, sometimes even when their jockey falls off?

But horses are herd animals. Out of instinct, they will try to follow the leader of the pack or continue running because that is what they have evolved and indeed been trained to do. But there is no evidence they really enjoy jumping.

The tragedy of the National is that, if people were honest enough to admit it, the greatest attraction of the race is in the element of danger and the thrill of watching the horses tackle this highly risky challenge.

How can horses be so ruthlessly exploited to feed this national habit when we claim to be proud to be more compassionate than most other countries to our animals?

Having banned fox-hunting, bear-baiting and cock-fighting, we like to think ourselves morally superior to our crueller ancestors who used to revel in these practices. But the Grand National is little different to such barbarities.

In response to animal welfare campaigners, the British Horseracing Authority introduced a few cosmetic changes to this year’s National, such as imposing a higher age limit of seven years on all horses to ensure they are fully developed and have sufficient experience, and reducing the drop on the landing side of Becher’s by a few inches. But these steps did little to protect Synchronised and According to Pete.

There is only one way to stop the suffering of the horses and that is to ban the Grand National. If racing enthusiasts truly respected these noble, majestic creatures, they would be unable to tolerate any longer such needless cruelty  masquerading as sport.

News Link:-Dailymail.co.uk

“Well, if you read my post yesterday, it seems I am not the only who thought Synchronised shouldn’t have raced etc. etc….I rest my case”

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