Death threats for star Cheltenham jockey in row over dead horses

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“I have always disagreed with horse racing because most of the horses are usually too young to compete”

By JOHN STEVENS

PUBLISHED: 00:00, 14 March 2014

Ruby Walsh attacked on Twitter for comments describing animals as replaceable

  • Ruby Walsh created controversy when he said animals are replaceable after Our Conor suffered fatal fall at Cheltenham on first day
  • One tweet: ‘Ruby Walsh I hope you get your skull crushed by one of the horses you’re so heartlessly flippant about…’
  • On Wednesday, Mail reported how Walsh, who has twice won the Grand National, said there is a difference between death of a human and a horse

A star jockey has received death threats after he played down the death of a horse during a race.

Star jockey Ruby Walsh (above) has received death threats after he played down the death of a horse during a race. Above, Walsh on Faugheen celebrates victory in the Neptune Investment Management Novices’ Hurdle during Ladies Day at Cheltenham on Wednesday

Animal rights campaigners have accused the 34-year-old Irishman of being callous, while others have bombarded him with threats.

One tweeted: ‘Ruby Walsh I hope you get your skull crushed by one of the horses you’re so heartlessly flippant about. Animals should not die for sport.’

Another added: ‘Shame more jockeys aren’t killed instead of beautiful horses!!!!!! All jockeys are complete c**ts!! No horse is replaceable!’ 

Ruby Walsh created controversy when he said that animals are replaceable after Our Conor suffered a fatal fall at Cheltenham on the first day of racing. Above, Our Conor (right) ridden by jockey Daniel Mullins

While another wrote: ‘@Ruby Walsh Don’t worry if you die in a race, there’ll be someone to replace you too.’ 

On Wednesday, the Mail reported how Ruby Walsh, who has twice won the Grand National, said that there is a difference between the death of a human and a horse.

He said: ‘It’s sad, but horses are animals, outside your back door. Humans are humans. They are inside your back door.

‘You can replace a horse. You can’t replace a human being. That’s my feeling on it.’ 

Dene Stansall of campaign group Animal Aid told the Mail: ‘He has shown callousness for the animals that have earned him a good living.

‘It’s completely disrespectful. To treat the death of a horse in such a way shows that they are merely machines for people to make money.

‘Ruby Walsh is the leading jockey at Cheltenham and wants to support the event as much as he can, but you cannot disregard the lives of horses just because they are not humans.

‘We would expect more from him. This shows he has got little empathy for a horse that really suffered before it died.’

‘Lacking respect’: Ruby Walsh, seen after taking a record sixth Mares’ Hurdle title at the Cheltenham Festival on Tuesday, has been attacked by animal rights activists

Ingrid Newkirk, founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), said: ‘Walsh’s comments expose the true emotion behind horseracing: greed. They are deeply offensive to anyone who has ever loved and lost a horse or other beloved animal companion.

‘Unlike Walsh, horses are not unfeeling but experience joy, anxiety, fear and affection, just as human beings do.’ 

Mr Walsh last night declined to comment on the threats against him. He told the Mail: ‘I didn’t even know about it.’ Dozens of messages criticising Walsh have been sent directly to his Twitter account.

One user, with the profile name Amy, wrote: ‘Do you hate horses because you are so short and this makes you angry?’ 

Another posted: ‘YOUR (sic) AN IDIOT!! ‘A horse can be replaced’ really??? So can jockeys so I hope you fall off a horse & get trampled!’ 

Since the furore, Mr Walsh’s father, trainer Ted Walsh, has compared Britain’s attitude on the issue to that in Ireland.

He said of the UK: ‘It’s a funny country. They can remember the names of horses that got blown up by the bombs in London but not the names of the people riding them.’ 

The British Horse racing Association has stressed that the welfare of horses is ‘paramount’ at races such as Cheltenham. “So I have to ask….why are they racing horses on flat or over jumps when the horses are not mentally & physically ready for such a task>”

A spokesman said: ‘Cheltenham Racecourse employs eight veterinary surgeons, whose sole responsibility it is to provide care to the horses throughout their time at the racecourse.

‘In the event of an incident on the racecourse, any horse affected will receive immediate attention and treatment from the racecourse’s veterinary team.” I.E put them to sleep, because they can be fixed but wouldn’t be worth any money to the owners or syndicate if they are not bring the money home;plenty more being bred for this very reason!!!”

‘Qualified paramedics and doctors are also on hand in the case of any incident involving a jockey.

‘If necessary, horses and riders will be transported from the course to receive further treatment at the most appropriate equine hospital or Accident & Emergency hospital.

‘British Racing is open and transparent about the risks involved in the sport – the BHA Veterinary team monitors injury rates at every licensed racecourse. Over the last 15 years, the equine fatality rate has fallen by one third to 0.2 per cent of all runners. “OK, then go look at the Animal Aids ” Race Horse Death”? That will tell you exactly where, when & who was the jockey….I don’t know of any other site where I could get that information from!! http://www.horsedeathwatch.com/

‘Despite the best efforts of all involved, as with participation in any sport involving speed and athleticism, there remains an inherent risk of injury.’

News Link:-http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2580575/Cheltenham-rider-Ruby-Walsh-gets-death-threats-row-dead-horses.html#ixzz2vxVLOWYQ
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STOP PRESS: REPORTS OF THIRD HORSE DEAD AT CHELTENHAM FESTIVAL

Posted 12 March 2014

A four-year-old horse, inexperienced over the jumps and ridden by a young, inexperienced jockey, became the second victim of the 2014 Cheltenham Festival. Akdam broke a foreleg racing in the 16.40 Juvenile Handicap Hurdle. On the Festival’s opening day (Tuesday), Our Conor suffered what turned out to be fatal spinal injuries in the Champion Hurdle race.Akdam was running in a hotly contested, crowded race, featuring 24 horses. His ‘conditional’ jockey, Josh Hamer, was up against leading riders including, AP McCoy, Tom Scudamore and Ruby Walsh.Akdam had been entered into 20 previous races, 11 of them hurdle events, the others on the flat or all-weather courses. In fact, he was bred to race on the flat but ended up at a very young age being put over jumps.Says Dene Stansall, Horseracing Consultant, Animal Aid:

‘Akdam died in a race that was rough messy and hazardous. No doubt racing’s apologists will offer yet another unconvincing excuse for why this horse suffered this violent end.

Animal Aid’s recent report points to Cheltenham as being the course on which more horses die than any other in the country. Akdam’s brutal end brings to 50 the number who have perished at the Gloucestershire course since Animal Aid launched the online Deathwatch database in March 2007.’

Stop press: It is reported this evening (Wednesday) that the Festival has claimed a third victim. Five-year-old Stack The Deck was destroyed after fracturing a knee in the 17.15 Champion Bumper.News Link:http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_horse/ALL/3066//

 

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.

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Cheltenham Claims Another Victim – Matuhi :Deathwatch 2012 New Report Shocking Death Toll

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“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’.

Eurosport – Matuhi running at the 2012 Cheltenham Festival (PA Photos) Such a beautiful horse, to die for money!

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!

Screens Still Round Matuhi

HOW DISRESPECTFUL…the poor horse Matuhi is dying behind those screens but the race goes on without so much as a word about the horse Matuhi receiving treatment

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.”

News Link:http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_horse//2846//

DEATHWATCH 2012: NEW REPORT REVEALS SHOCKING HORSE DEATH TOLL AT CHELTENHAM AND AINTREE

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!!”

News Link:http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/n/NEWS/news_horse//2840//

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

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