Irish horses sold out to highest bidder…the animals nightmare CHINA!

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Horse Racing Kills

IRISH HORSES BETRAYED….as Irish Government plans to export to China…a country steeped in animal abuse. It goes without saying that being a thoroughbred racehorse gets you no better treatment from those who exploit you.

End Horse Racing -the cruelty cannot be eliminated without a ban.

As horse racing pundits in the UK give lip service to the horse killings at the Grand National we do not hear many racing supporters condemning the move by the Irish Government to supply China with Irish horses.

The racing venture and racecourse proposed in China will require 600 to 800 horses for its inaugural year, which is targeted to have approximately 40 race days. This venture is to be stocked with broodmares from Ireland, while stallions will also be sent out.

Also it does not seem to matter to Taoiseach Enda Kenny that Hong Kong is the only venue on Chinese soil where betting on horses is legal and that authorities are unlikely to legalise gambling on the mainland anytime soon. While Ireland has no agreement regarding the export of horses, according to the DOA the changes are being drafted now.

‘If there was any doubt that the new IRELAND-CHINA ‘deal’ will mean untold suffering to Irish animals, we only have to look at past and current horse events in China to foretell the future for our horses’.

Following is a chronicle of known HORSE ABUSE already part of life in China….

Not many know that in 2005 at the Beijing racetrack over 600 healthy thoroughbreds were reported to have been slaughtered in the Chinese capital. This was as a consequence of the official reluctance by the Chinese Communist Party to tolerate gambling. This mass killing was unprecedented even in the harsh world of horseracing.

  • • Zoos across China are still putting on cruel exotic animal performances, three months after they were banned by the government. In one show in Guangxi Zhuang this month, crowds cheered as a tiger teetered on the back of a horse, while monkeys, with chains around their necks, rode bicycles around in circles.
  • • Horse Fighting is still rife in China where evidence and shocking photos of two stallions covered in blood and ferociously biting each other the annual horsefight in Antai, China, where such animal cruelty is considered ‘sport’.
  • At the annual event, which dates back a staggering 500 years, horses are pitted against each other as thousands of locals watch, with many cheering them on and taking photographs.
  • The stallions are encouraged to fight by being lead to a mare in heat, and then taking the female horse away when the stallions are aroused.

‘We call on Enda Kenny, Taoiseach to reconsider his stance on Horse exports to China and to condemn both Chinas animal and human abuses without further delay’.

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

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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.


“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”

Terrified Grand National horse who died at Aintree should NEVER have even started, say the racing experts

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  • Nine-year-old Grand National favourite fell twice during race and had to be put down
  • Pundits had raised concerns over horse’s well-being after it threw jockey Tony McCoy minutes before start
  • Synchronised fell at notorious Becher’s Brook, before second fall five fences later where it broke a hind leg
  • RSPCA demand changes to race after describing Grand National as ‘clearly not safe enough’

A champion horse killed after falling at the Grand National should never have been allowed to race after it became spooked before the start, experts said yesterday.

Millions saw Gold Cup winner Synchronised throw its rider before poignantly galloping alone in front of the grandstand ahead of the race on Saturday.

It was eventually retrieved by officials and reunited with its jockey Tony McCoy at the start. However, it was to die in the race a few minutes later after it fell twice

Tragic: Synchronised (circled in red) starts to fall after jumping the notoriously difficult Becher's Brook during Saturday's Grand National

Racing pundit John McCririck was among those who said the horse, one of the favourites, should not have started the race when there were doubts over its physical and mental well-being.

And before the race began BBC presenter Clare Balding commented that Synchronised ‘did not look up for it’ as the horse appeared jittery when McCoy ‘showed it’ the first fence before racing.

Synchronised won the Cheltenham Gold Cup a month ago but lasted just six of the 30 fences before falling at notorious Becher’s Brook.

 The nine-year-old carried on racing ‘riderless’ for a further five fences before falling again and breaking a hind leg. The agonising decision was then made to put the horse down by lethal injection beside the track where it fell.However, the trainer of another horse which met the same grim fate, According to Pete, has spoken in defence of the race, saying his death was ‘just a freak accident’.According to Pete fell when jumping Becher’s Brook for the second time and colliding with another horse. It was put down after breaking its shoulder.

But Malcom Jefferson said it was time to stop tinkering with the conditions of the race and said he would have no qualms about entering another horse next year.

He said: ‘He (According to Pete) was one of my favourites so it’s hit me very hard. As a trainer, and it’s the same for anyone in racing, you don’t go to the races expecting to lose your horse.

‘You can’t do anything about it, it’s just a freak accident that could have happened anywhere, but because it was the National everyone saw it.’

The two deaths have led to to angry calls for the Aintree event – first run in 1839 – to be made safer.

But Mr Jefferson said: ‘They can’t carry on making changes. In my eyes, the fences should be bigger to slow them down. If they were a foot higher Pete would still have jumped them.

‘People say make the field smaller, but what if next year another two die? Then they`ll want 20 runners. If I have a suitable horse next year I’ll enter him.’

The RSPCA called for an ‘urgent examination’ and said it had serious concerns about the high number of horses included in the race, as well as the difficulty of some jumps.

The race was delayed when McCoy fell from Synchronised before the start.

The horse ran some distance down the course on its own before it was caught and a vet was then seen checking the animal’s heartbeat before it was ridden back to the start.

According to some experts, the gelding may not have been in the right condition to run the gruelling race.

As the horse and rider were filmed facing the first fence, Miss Balding commented on air: ‘I don’t think he fancies it much, you know.’ She added afterwards: ‘I know that’s a silly thing to say.’ Yesterday Miss Balding, an experienced horsewoman, wrote on Twitter: ‘It is wrong to wake up the morning after an event still upset about it.’

She also wrote messages saying there are too many horses in the Grand National, meaning they do not have enough room to jump and land safely.

According to Pete ridden by Harry Haynes, left, falls after jumping Becher's Brook. The horse later had to be put down

 McCririck commented: ‘Racing must review whether horses should be allowed to take part if they get loose and run free.‘For years, along with others, I’ve campaigned for horses to be withdrawn if they unnaturally exert themselves at such a crucial moment. The industry must act to cut down this kind of avoidable risk.’The chief executive of the RSPCA, Gavin Grant, demanded significant changes to the race, where last year two horses were also killed.

‘It’s clearly not safe enough,’ he said yesterday, calling for an end to ‘death and suffering’ at Aintree.

He continued: ‘We recognise racing is part and parcel of the fabric of our country but we’ve all got a responsibility as human beings – after all the horses haven’t got a choice, they can’t make the decisions – to make racing as safe as it can be.

News source:-

Grand National: According to Pete – Owner will not return

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The owner of a horse that was put down after falling at a fence in the Grand National at Aintree has said he will not enter horses in the race again.

Incident at Grand National

Peter Nelson, who lives at Helperby, near Boroughbridge, in North Yorkshire, owned According to Pete, who fell at Becher’s Brook on the second circuit.

The horse suffered a fractured leg and was put down at the scene.

Mr Nelson said horse racing would always carry risks but that he would not enter the National again.

Mr Nelson, who has a village garage and paper shop, said: “It’s terrible. He was a family pet, part of the family.

“Everybody’s absolutely upset. We’ve had loads of people knocking on the door.

“We’ve had loads of telephone calls and flowers given and bottles of wine.

“But all of that doesn’t bring him back, does it?”

‘Broken shoulder’

Mr Nelson said 11-year-old According to Pete was “in the prime of his life” and had recently run at Wetherby and Haydock.

“After the race we saw the loose horses running in and we were looking for him, but he never came.”

Mr Nelson said ground staff at the racecourse then told him the horse was in an ambulance and was “very bad” and he was then told According to Pete had been put down.

He said: “It was devastating. We’d had him since he was a foal. We’ve still got his mother.

“We had a stable at the back of the garage and a little paddock for him to run in.”

Talking about the race, Mr Nelson said: “If he’d have done well we’d have been chuffed for him, but it’s a chance you take. You always think it’s going to be someone else’s horse.”

He said he would never enter another horse in the Grand National race.

“No, I wouldn’t,” he said. “I couldn’t go through all the pain again.”

“Now that’s what you call a genuine horse lover, I’m sure if they could have saved him, they would have at least tried, so it must have been a bad break!”


Another National tragedy: Two More Horses Die In Grand National

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“Is anyone really surprised by yet 2 more deaths at the National?  There isn’t a lot more I can say about the race, that I have not already said in previous post on horse racing. I’ve grown up with horses & have never been a fan of steeple racing but the Grand National is one race I despise, so will keep my opinions brief.”

“The start was a shambles, Synchronised broke loose & even unseated his rider, he may have only gone just short of two furlongs, & was examined by vets, but nobody could be instantly certain about his physical and mental well-being; he didn’t look right from the get go!. He should have been pulled out, as should all horses that break free before the start… in this race, the horses need no extra exertion to deal with.”

  “There are certain jockeys that should be reprimanded for over use of the whip too! By the time the horses are approaching the finishing line, they have run an exhaustive 4 1/2 miles & jumped 30 fences, which makes it the longest in world Thoroughbred National Hunt racing!!  I have purposely enlarged the photo’s so you can see the fear in the horses eyes & how the metal bits can actually fracture the horses teeth via riders hanging onto the reigns over jumps. Also, look at the tremendous amount of weight the horses place on their 2 front legs  when coming down from a jump…is there any wonder bones shatter & break?”

The Grand National faced fresh controversy yesterday after two horses died during the race despite the introduction of new safety measures.

Millions of television viewers saw Cheltenham Gold Cup winner Synchronised, one of the favourites, fall at Becher’s Brook fence. The horse was later put down.

The horses at the starting line up of the Grand National today after an early fall in the warm up and a false start

The second victim of the infamous fence, which has claimed more lives than any other in the iconic race, was According To Pete, which was put down after breaking its neck.

Two other horses, Killyglen and Weird Al, were last night being examined by vets after being injured during the race. Their conditions were not thought to be life threatening.

The incident-packed 165th Grand National was one of the most dramatic in history.

Neptune Collonges won the race in the closest ever finish. Sunnyhillboy finished second and Seabass, ridden by Katie Walsh – hoping to become the first female jockey to win the National – finished third.

But it was the fatalities that last night sparked a furious debate, with the RSPCA calling for an ‘urgent examination’ of the race.

The deaths came despite the introduction of new safety measures. Almost £250,000 was spent by Aintree officials to implement the recommendations of a safety review following a public outcry over the deaths last year of Dooney’s Gate, also at Becher’s Brook, and Ornais.

Jitters: After trotting back to join the other horses for the start of the race, Synchronized (ridden by Tony McCoy) inspected the first fence and didn't look too eager - sadly this was a sign of things to come

They included changes to three fences that have claimed half of the fallers since 1990 and a raft of other measures including stricter pre-race screenings. Becher’s Brook, made of spruce trees, is notorious because of the size and angle of the 6ft 9in drop on the landing side, which is lower than the take-off.

Since 2000, 35 horses have died during the three-day Aintree meeting.

The death of Synchronised came after its jockey Tony McCoy had earlier been unseated by the horse in the moments leading to the start of the race, raising questions over whether the favourite was fit to race.

The horse went on to fall at Becher’s on the first circuit before carrying on and falling again at the 11th fence, where it broke its leg. According To Pete fell at Becher’s after colliding with another horse on the second circuit.

Fatal fall: AP McCoy and Synchronised fall after the sixth fence. The horse had to be put down on the course

There was further drama as jockey Noel Fehily was taken to hospital with a suspected broken leg after being unseated from State Of Play at the fifth fence.

One fence had to be bypassed on the second circuit for the jockey to be treated by medics. In all, just 15 of the 40 horses that started the race finished.

Gavin Grant, chief executive of the RSPCA, said: ‘The death of two horses at the Grand National, bringing the total to three at the Aintree meeting, is totally unacceptable.

Three riders and their horses fall on a turn as the others push on for the finishing line

‘This is the second year running that two horses have died. In it’s current format, the risks to horses are not appropriate and we want an urgent examination of the Grand National, including a number of fences including Becher’s Brook where horses are continuing to die despite safety improvements.’

Mr Grant also questioned whether the whip was overused in the final stages of the race, adding: ‘If that is the case it is totally unacceptable and, given the narrow margin of the win, I believe the result should be reversed.’

Carnage: Horses jump Beechers Brook at the start of the race. There were two confirmed fatalities

Last night Julian Thick, managing director of Aintree Racecourse, said: ‘We are desperately sad at these two accidents and our sympathies are with the connections of both horses.

‘When a horse gets hurt, everyone is deeply upset. Safety is the first priority for the organisers of the Grand National and we make every effort to ensure that everyone involved in the event is able to participate in safety.

‘Horse racing is a sport that is very carefully regulated and monitored by the British Horseracing Authority, but risk can never be completely removed.
‘After today, we will, as always, be looking at all aspects of the race to see how we can improve safety further.’

Tumble: Jockey James Reveley, centre, falls from Always Right at The Chair fence during the Grand National

But Cornelius Lysaght, BBC horse racing correspondent, said: ‘There is no doubt this is a black day for the Grand National and for horse racing. Nobody should underestimate it – this is very serious for everyone in the racing industry.

‘A big dark cloud hangs over the Grand National. Its future is in a certain amount of doubt.’

The National, described as the world’s greatest steeplechase, is worth a record £970,000 in prize money, making it the richest jump race in Europe.

James Reveley rolls away from the crash. A number of other fallers in the race will renew calls for smaller fences

At Aintree, shocked racegoers among the 70,000-strong crowd, which included Alex Gerrard and Coleen Rooney, the wives of footballers Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney, reacted in horror at the deaths.

And there was further outrage from animal welfare groups.

Ben Wilson, of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, said: ‘The only sure-fire bet at the Grand National is that of all the losers – it’s the horses who lose the most.

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

‘The thoroughbreds forced to take part in the Grand National are accidents waiting to happen. What sort of person, upon reflection, can find it amusing or ethical to bet on exhausted animals, knowing that some will crash face-first into the ground and career into one another on the deliberately punishing and hazardous course?’

Tony Moore, chairman of Fight Against Animal Cruelty in Europe, led a group of around 50 demonstrators outside the course.

Neptune Collonges, right, pulls clear of the pack as he comes down off the final fence

He said: ‘After the demo I was watching the race on TV but when I saw the first black screen go up my heart sank.

‘The safety changes have clearly made no difference whatsoever. If owners, jockeys and trainers really cared about their horses, why do they continue to put them through this terrible ordeal year after year?

‘The Grand National is a national disgrace.’

: Neptune Collonges and Daryl Jacobs (left) beat Sunnyhillboy on the line

Within minutes of the race ending it was trending on Twitter as one of the most talked-about issues of the day, with hundreds of users, including several celebrities, denouncing it as barbaric.

Kelly Brook, the model and actress, said: ‘I was really distrubed by the Grand National, couldn’t believe my eyes. So cruel.’

Sally Bercow, wife of Commons Speaker John Bercow, tweeted: ‘Horses dying is not “sport”’

But others dismissed the protests, one saying: ‘You tweet as you sit wearing leather and eating a bacon sandwich.’

After the race, Paul Nicholls, the trainer of 33/1 shot winner Neptune Collonges, said: ‘Millions of people watch the race, many people get pleasure from it.
‘We all knew before we came here the risks. The horses get looked after brilliantly but unfortunately these things do happen.’

News Link:- The Daily Mail

“The Grand National will always be the world’s most demanding horse race. It is notorious for the consistency with which it kills and injures horses. Despite numerous changes to the course and conditions of the race over the past 50 years, 37 horses are known to have lost their lives, while many others have been injured. In fact, the death rate has increased over the past five decades. Today, the race is, on average, more than five times more lethal than other steeplechases. Reducing the height of the jumps will not make it any safer, it will in fact make it faster therefore more deadly.”

“The only way to make this race safer for horses is to ban it altogether, people will still be able to bet away & win a fortune on other races…just not on this race!!

“How many people remember Red Rum?? the only horse to win the Grand National 3 times. He died on October 18th 1995 at the age of 30 & is buried at the finishing line with his head facing the winning post.

The Grand National – Please Don’t Back the Cruelty

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English: Cropped version of the Aintree nation...

Image via Wikipedia

The Grand National is a deliberately hazardous race.

A dangerously overcrowded field of 40 horses is forced to confront 30 extraordinarily challenging and treacherous jumps, over a course of four-and-a-half miles, the longest in the world. Since 2000, 20 horses have died on the Grand National course and, over the course of the three-day meeting, 34 horses have been killed at the three-day in that same period.

The event has seen numerous horses collapse, some of whom have died. Most recently, in 2009, Irish horse Hear The Echo collapsed and never recovered, shortly before the finishing post. Millions of television viewers were especially distressed to see the 2011 Grand National winner, Ballabriggs, being thrashed at the end of a race that left him so exhausted, that he needed oxygen. His jockey, Jason Maguire, was banned from racing for five days but kept his prize money and his winner’s position. The modern race horse is bred to be fast, but at the expense of bone strength and general health.

Despite its long history, the past decade has been the race’s deadliest decade. The fences have seen physical changes. From 1961, they were sloped on the take-off side. In 2009, run-outs were introduced that enable fences to be bypassed by the runners and loose horses. There have also been changes to the core structure of the fences. However, these innovations have not reduced the fatalities.  The death rate has actually increased over the last 50 years.

Horses have been my life for around 45 years so I have an in depth knowledge of horses & equine injuries. It is positively cruel to expect a horse to run 41/2 miles at full gallop & jump a total of 30 fences as well.

Please, don’t back the cruelty.  Sign the petition below:
Very rarely do you hear of the horses that have died, either as a result of a fall or after crossing the finishing line;  many die after the race from heart attacks or internal bleeding, but you will never hear of them.
I would suggest anyone interested in actual fatalities as a result of racing to view the following,  then & only then will you get an idea of how cruel this sport of kings really is.
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