Aintree Named Most Dangerous Racecourse In The Country

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CALL TO SCRAP BECHER’S BROOK At The Grand National – One horse dead already!

  • Report names Aintree as most dangerous racecourse for horses
  • Demonstrations to be held at Aintree racecourse and Channel 4 in London
  • Animal Aid campaign vehicle to visit Liverpool
  • Cosmetics retailer Lush launches tombstone window displays in memory of equine fatalities
  • Adverts across London and in a national newspaper call on punters not to bet on the National

2012 Neptune Collonges runs clears as According to Pete and jockey Henry Haynes and On His Own and Paul Townshend fall at Bechers. According to Pete was also put down

Despite much heralded ‘safety improvements’, the Grand National’s most notorious obstacle remains a potentially lethal challenge for horses running at Aintree next month. The two horses who died at last year’s eventSynchronised and According To Pete – both fell at Becher’s Brook. The same 4ft 10in fence accounted for Dooneys Gate in 2011. His back was broken after the obstacle brought him down and another horse landed on him.

Animal Aid has long criticised the hard wooden core of Becher’s Brook. Reports, therefore, that the inner structure of Becher’s and other fences will be softened represents, in our view, a positive development.

However, Becher’s remains inherently lethal for many reasons, including its height, the spread, the diagonal angle of approach, the fact that it comes at the end of a fast straight of five demanding fences, and because horses must turn after the obstacle has been jumped. In addition, although changes have been made to the ground on the landing side of Becher’s, the fence is still lower there than on the take-off side, which poses another potential hazard for horses.

Animal Aid insists that the time for tinkering is over – Becher’s Brook must be removed.

Thrills and spills: James Reveley rolls away from the crash. A number of other fallers in the race will renew calls for smaller fences.  Pictures via Daily Mail.

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Besides Becher’s, other distinctive features make the Aintree annual race extraordinarily dangerous for horses. These include: an overcrowded field of 40 horses; a uniquely long distance, with more fences per mile than any other race; plus perversely challenging obstacles that vary in height and design, unlike the uniform fences found on other British courses. It is due to these and other factors that just 37 per cent of horses entered into the event over the past ten years have managed to complete the course.

Animal Aid anti-Grand National campaign initiatives include:

  • A demonstration outside Channel 4 in London on 6 April (the day of the race) by local activists and supported by Animal Aid. Channel 4 this year takes over broadcasting the Aintree meeting from the BBC.
  • Adverts, asking punters not to bet on the big race, appearing across London and in The Daily Telegraph newspaper.
  • A visit to Liverpool, on 3 April, by a converted ambulance emblazoned with stark protest imagery and messages. On the vehicle’s side, a powerful short film will be screened continuously. Leafleting will take place in various locations around the city.
  • Ethical cosmetics retailer, Lush, to feature a striking window display in its Leeds outlet, drawing attention to the horses who have died at recent Grand Nationals.
  • Animal Aid to attend the annual demonstration outside the gates of Aintree racecourse on the day of the Grand National.
  • Animal Aid’s redesigned unique database of on-course equine fatalities,Deathwatch, to be launched at the start of the Grand National meeting.
  • Animal Aid activists to distribute tens of thousands of leaflets across the country, calling on the public not to place a bet on the race, but instead back the Sanctuary not Cruelty scheme which directly funds two hard-pressed specialist sanctuaries that rescue horses – including ex-racehorses.

A number of course alterations and entry conditions were announced in November 2011, but these did not prevent two horses being killed in the 2012 Grand National. Further changes were introduced at the end of last year and more in recent weeks. But features that make the race so lethal remain unchanged.

Last month, Animal Aid published the report Deathwatch 2012, drawn from its online database that records the deaths of thoroughbreds on all British racecourses. The report reveals that Aintree was the most lethal of all Britain’s 60 racecourses in 2012, when deaths are evaluated in relation to the number of days’ racing. Six horses died at Aintree in just eight days of racing. Three of those fatalities occurred during the three-day Grand National meeting.

Carnage: Horses jump Beechers Brook at the start of the race. There were two confirmed fatalities and many are being to question the ethics of racing horses on such tracks
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Says Animal Aid’s Director, Andrew Tyler:

The time has come for Aintree Racecourse to face what for them is an unpalatable truth: the tide of public opinion is turning against its perversely cruel spectacle. An NOP poll conducted on behalf of Animal Aid last year revealed that, of those respondents who expressed a clear opinion, the majority feels that the Grand National is cruel. Our message is clear: people should stop backing this horror show and donate their money instead to sanctuaries that help horses – not to an industry that exploits and kills them.’

Further information

Just a few of the many petitions to sign:

‘Absolutely horrendous’ animal cruelty as Husky puppies are found starved and burnt

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“OMG…this is appalling, but where is the information about the owner? Yes they were dumped, but somebody must know who they belonged to, because that person needs to be found & punished? I am losing all faith in humans; we are supposed to be compassionate with feelings which should put us above all other creatures…yet, it seems many are not; they are worse than animals! 

THREE Husky puppies and their mother have been rescued after cruel owners dumped them in appalling condition.

The three 16 week old puppies were locked in a crate festering in their own urine (Pic:Mercury)

The starved puppies, who are just 16 weeks-old, were so badly neglected their coats were stained yellow and they had ammonia burns on their paws.

It is believed the poor pups were left were locked in a tiny cage festering in their own urine for 23 hours a day.

Happily, John Duxbury – from Sibes and Sled Dogs Husky Welfare – is nursing the dogs back to health after retrieving them from a pet rescue centre in Liverpool.

John, 52, called their condition “absolutely horrendous” and admitted they were so scared they walked hunch-backed while shaking their heads.

Megan the three year-old Alaskan Malamute and her three puppies were found in appalling condition

He said: “They were not behaving like puppies when we brought them to the centre.

“Megan, the mum, has suffered a great deal from being locked in a crate for 23 hours a day and I don’t think her pups saw the light of day at all since they were born.

However, John added that the poor pooches have come on leaps and bounds since they were rescued from their horrific ordeal.

The poor pups had burns on their feet (Mercury)

“They were the most well-behaved dogs I have ever transported in a crate because that was their life and all they were used to,” he said.

John and partner Christine opened their refuge centre for neglected Huskies in Nelson, Lancashire, 12 months ago because they were shocked by cruelty to the breed.

“There is a huge problem in this country with ‘fashion dogs’ which are bought because they are cute as pups but grow into big dogs.

“Animal rescue centres have had a surge in numbers of Staffordshire Bull Terriers in recent years and now it is happening with Huskies,” he said.

Sibes and Sled Dogs Husky Welfare is caring for 45 neglected Huskies and of those 24 have been allocated new homes after a lengthy adoption process.

A spokesperson from the RSPCA said: “Taking on any animal is a huge responsibility and the decision to become a pet owner needs to be thought through very carefully.

“People should never choose a pet because they look cute or because they are fashionable.

“It’s incredibly frustrating and soul-destroying for the RSPCA to know we – and other animal charities – end up having to pick up the pieces when animals bought as accessories are put up for re-homing  neglected or simply abandoned.

“The suffering it causes is all so pointless and avoidable.”

To make a donation to John and Christine’s rescue centre or enquire about the Huskies email:

News Link:-

PETITION: Please Help Protect Guide Dogs For The Blind

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“Posting for & on behalf of a Twitter friend roger debman ‏@printer8 I can relate to this being disabled & wheelchair bound myself; It’s not funny or clever to mock the afflicted, one never knows when it might be your turn…disabled people rely heavily on all manner of items & of course dogs; to make their life as normal as possible. If that item it taken away, it can be devastating for the person who relied on it!! So please, spare a minute of your time & sign this important petition…Thanks!”

PETITION: protect guide dogs for the blind

Injuries to animals such as guide dogs must be treated as a aggravated attack as a attack on a guide dog has a serious impact on the disabled persons quality of life.

Dog Attacks

Dog attacks are of great concern to Guide Dogs and to guide dog owners. The number of guide dog owners who are reporting dog attacks on their dogs is increasing. Our latest research shows the number of reported attacks on guide dogs has risen from three a month to over eight dog attacks a month within a 24 month period from June 2010 to May 2012.

In most cases the cause of the attack was unprovoked, and the aggressor dog was uncontrolled and off the lead.

Guide Dogs backs compulsory microchipping, but wants proposals to go further. Read our reaction to the Government’s proposals about microchipping.

The impact on guide dog owners and guide dogs

Dog attacks can have a devastating impact on both the people and dogs involved. Three guide dogs have been permanently withdrawn, and two others are currently being assessed to see if they are able to continue working.

The other major impact is that blind and partially sighted people are left without a guide dog, their mobility aid, and become housebound until they can be matched with a suitable dog.

Some guide dog owners have been left too frightened to go out as a result of an attack. One guide dog owner wanted to move house due to the response of the owners of the attacking dog, who in some cases used verbal abuse against blind and partially sighted people.

Some appeared to be under the influence of drink or drugs, and in one case, the owner of an aggressive dog laughed at a guide dog owner during an attack on his guide dog.

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Teenager’s guide dog savaged in fourth dog attack in a month in Liverpool park

Jayne Massey with Witney, her guide dog

Jayne Massey with Witney, her guide dog

A TEENAGER was left devastated after her guide dog was attacked in a Liverpool park.

Partially sighted Jayne Massey, 14, from Walton, has had two-year-old Witney since April but the black labrador/ retriever cross was left needing stitches to her ear and antibiotics after another dog “pounced” on her last week.

Jayne, who only has one eye and extremely limited vision, was away on a school trip last Wednesday when mum Marie, 56, dad George, 63, and their grandaughter Ava, 4, took the dog for a walk in Walton Hall Park at about 1pm.

As they left the park a brown and white Staffordshire bull terrier-type dog, who was with a group of teenagers, attacked Witney, biting her ear.

This is the fourth time an attack by a brown and white dog has been reported around the Walton area in the past month.

Marie said: “It was terrifying. As we went by the dog it just pounced on Witney from behind.

“When I told Jayne what had happened she was absolutely devastated and sobbed all night.”

Jayne said: “I was heartbroken when my mum told me Witney had been attacked.

“I just didn’t expect it to happen to her because she’s such a lovely dog.

“Now I’m just worried about how she’ll recover and whether she’ll be able to come into school with me in a couple of weeks. I’m thinking about her all the time and I just hope she’ll be ok.”

Jayne is one of the youngest people in the country to have a guide dog.

News Link:–

Please sign the petition on behalf of all those who need their guide dogs

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Cruelty charges see former Liverpool pet shop owner jailed (VIDEO)

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SHOCKING video footage showing how two so-called Liverpool pet lovers left scores of helpless animals to suffer in squalor can be revealed by the ECHO today.

Rabbits needing medical  treatment, infected guinea  pigs and hamsters cooped up  in cramped, filthy cages were  discovered at the Kensington  home of Simon Downes and  Lesley Holt.

Shamed former pet shop  owner Downes, 42, – who once  threw a live rat in a freezer to  use as snake food – was  yesterday jailed for two  months at Liverpool  magistrates’ court after  admitting a raft of cruelty  charges.

Both he and Holt, 50, who  was given a suspended  sentence, were banned from  owning animals for life.

The footage was shot by appalled RSPCA officer Leanne Hardy in investigations in April (see video above) and October last year (see video on next page).

At the couple’s small house on Every Street, she found 38 guinea pigs left without water, of which six were in poor bodily condition and 15 afflicted with the skin disease, mange.

A baby rabbit was discovered with a dangerous infection. Another male rabbit had massively overgrown incisor teeth and three others were found to be poorly.

Despite Downes and Holt being banned in May from owning all animals except dogs, after admitting separate cruelty charges at the illegal Anfield pet shop they ran, the RSPCA discovered pets being kept at their home in their October investigation.

via New and shocking animal cruelty charges see former Liverpool pet shop owner jailed (VIDEO) – Liverpool Local News – News – Liverpool Echo.

Click this link to see the RSPCA video taken in March:-

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