The Grand National


Traditionally known as the ‘Sport of Kings’ the Grand National is now clearly an embarrassment to a nation that prides itself on fair treatment of animals. This is another example of ‘tradition’ being used to justify behaviour which is no longer acceptable. In this gruelling four and a half mile course, over the last 12 years, 20 horses have died on the day, and many more in the first week after the race.

One might imagine that after the worldwide success of the play and film “War Horse”, that it would now be apparent to everyone that these wonderful creatures have feelings and are worthy of respect. But in this ‘sport’, horses are treated as a commodity. Around 18,000 are bred into the ever-decreasing gene pool of the racing industry each year and evidence shows around 5,000 are raced to death. Just over 7,000 make the grade; the rest are destroyed or cast aside, many ending up in degrading horse markets, on their way to being used as food. During the actual races, the horses who have survived the system are openly beaten for human pleasure. As soon as they stop being money-earners, they are discarded – many destroyed on the spot.

Surely in 2012 this kind of treatment is utterly unacceptable. The industry has become a cruel factory farm for human financial profit.

It is time for Britain to stand up, set an example of decency to the world – and consign this barbaric sport to history.

Brian May CBE