7 Bets More Fun (and Ethical!) Than the Grand National
The Grand National may see a rush on the bookies. But compassionate people will want to stay away from any so-called “sport” that puts animal lives at risk. So have a punt on these instead:
Contestants from 43 countries come together to compete in the annual contest, sometimes travelling hundreds of miles to do so. But their travel likely won’t compare to what horses used in racing can go through. They often spend much of their time in cramped stalls, travelling from race to race, rarely ever getting to know the pleasure of grazing in a meadow or frolicking in the sun just for the fun of it.
Love them or hate them, most everyone will agree that the candidates in the race to City Hall don’t deserve to be whipped ahead of Election Day. Horses in the Grand National aren’t so lucky. To hurt an animal deliberately is illegal in most other circumstances, but riders at the Grand National are actually required to carry whips – despite the RSPCA’s verdict that “[u]sing whips can cause pain and suffering to the horses” and often makes them run beyond their usual capacity, increasing the likelihood of accidents.
There are some extremely talented young people on The Voice this year. And showcasing their talent is a dream many young people have. Young horses forced to compete won’t be living that dream, though. They may begin to be raced when they’re barely more than babies and their bones are not up to the pounding and stress of the track. It’s hardly surprising, then, that injuries, lameness and exhaustion are common afflictions.
Drivers face tough terrain, from snow-packed forest tracks to rock-strewn mountain passes, and there’s a good chance that motors will get smashed up. But cars are replaceable. Unfortunately, horses in the racing industry are also seen as replaceable and as commodities, not as sensitive, sentient animals.
While PETA US may have joked that “Zerglings have feelings, too”, no actual animals were harmed in the video game battle for the Koprulu Sector, and that makes betting on e-sports tournaments good fun. Even if you’re not a fan of video games, virtual sports, including computerised horseracing and greyhound racing, offer the excitement of having a flutter without the cruelty.
Professional wrestlers usually get to walk away from pile drivers and superman punches. Horses who fall at Aintree may not get to walk away, however. Nineteen horses died on the course in the last five years, and their deaths were both traumatic and frightening, a stomach-churning mess of tangled limbs, fractured bones and broken spines.
The anticipation for a new James Bond is always exciting, and actors leaving the role certainly aren’t sent to the chopping block. Former race horses, though, are often “retired” to the abattoir. According to Animal Aid, around 1,000 horses from the racing industry are killed in abattoirs in Britain every year, to be turned into dog food or horsemeat.
From football to cross-country skiing, there are hundreds of sports and events to bet on in which the participants choose to take part. Please boycott horseracing cruelty, stay away from racetracks and don’t support cruel sports at the betting shop, either.