Against Bullfighting? Then Don’t Bet on the Grand National
If someone in your office suggested organising a bet on a bullfight, what do you think people’s reaction would be? It would most likely be outrage. After all, how could anyone justify killing animals in the name of entertainment? But that is exactly what will be happening at Aintree on April 14 when the notorious Grand National takes place.
At four and a half miles, it is the longest and most deadly thoroughbred National Hunt race in the world. The Chair, Becher’s Brook and The Canal Turn are among the 30 fences that have claimed many horses’ lives over the years. Last year, less than half of the 40 starters finished the race, and two horses were killed.
The Grand National will never be made “safe” because the intent of organisers is to provide thrill and spills for spectators as horses crash and fall. The animals’ safety is of little concern to them. Of course, the television cameras stay with the front runners – horses who fail to get up quickly have a tarpaulin screen erected around them and are put down out of view.
For the horses taking part that do make it to the end of their “careers”, there is rarely a happy retirement. Horses are valued only when they are bringing in winnings, so the racing industry never has any plan for these animals once they stop making money. Some will simply be shot, and a few will be used in equestrian pastimes if they are still able. Many will be slaughtered, and their flesh exported.
The Grand National makes so much money because so many people who would never dream of placing a bet on a horse race at any other time think they will have a “harmless flutter” on the Grand National or put a few pounds in the office sweepstake. If you know people who are considering placing a bet, please forward this blog to them and ask them to take a look at these images from last year’s race. No matter how much they could win or lose, for so long as they give the ruthless racing industry a single penny, the horses will always pay the ultimate price.