Grand National Winner Was Previously Suspended From Racing for Punching a Horse in the Head

Posted by on April 16, 2018 | Permalink

Jockey Davy Russell, winner of this year’s Grand National, was previously given a four-day racing ban by the Irish Turf Club after being caught punching a horse in the head.

The incident – which occurred before a race in Tramore, County Waterford, in August 2017 – was so shocking that the Irish Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals stated that it was “appalled” by Russell’s actions, and many suggested that he should have been banned for longer – or forever.

It’s hard to believe that Russell is now being celebrated by the industry, but this is just more proof that horses’ suffering is overlooked in racing. Fatal injuries such as broken legs, backs, and necks are common when horses are whipped to make them run faster and jump higher than they naturally would. The stress on their bodies can also lead to debilitating medical conditions, including bleeding lungs and gastric ulcers. Many are first raced when they’re too young and haven’t fully developed, further increasing the risk of injury and illness.

When horses get too old or stop performing well enough to be profitable, they’re often “retired” and sent to slaughter. Animal Aid estimates that around 1,000 horses from the racing industry are killed in abattoirs in Britain every year and turned into dog food or cheap meat. Others face horrific live-export journeys to Europe.

What You Can Do

Despite growing public awareness of the suffering of horses in the racing industry, ITV continues to show the Grand National. Please send a message to the broadcaster’s chair, Sir Peter Bazalgette, and ask him to take this cruel event off our screens.