ITV to Become New Grand National Broadcaster
ITV is broadcasting the Grand National this year, even though this cruel event kills horses.
ITV has acquired the rights to replace Channel 4 as the free-to-air broadcaster of the Grand National – but what the channel will be screening will still be a spectacle of suffering and abuse. Horses die on the racetrack all the time, and last year there were six fatalities as a result of injuries sustained at the Grand National Meeting, making it the deadliest in years. These deaths may seem shocking, but they’re the logical result of a punishing course which is designed to push horses far beyond their natural capabilities.
The race is more than 4 miles long, and the Aintree track is littered with hazardous obstacles, such as the infamous Becher’s Brook, which is known as the world’s most dangerous jump. Horses are whipped in order to push them harder and faster, despite the RSPCA’s verdict that “[u]sing whips can cause pain and suffering to the horses”. This reckless pursuit of speed causes back-breaking falls and sudden heart attacks during races and can lead the animals to develop debilitating medical conditions, including bleeding lungs, ringbone, and gastric ulcers. Even worse, many horses are raced when they’re very young and haven’t fully developed, increasing the risk of injuries and illnesses.
Some people believe that horses enjoy good lives off the track, but sadly, this is often not the case. When they get too old or stop performing well enough to be profitable, many are “retired” and sent to slaughter. Figures published by the British Horseracing Authority show that 1,127 thoroughbreds were killed in UK abattoirs in 2011 – and many horses slaughtered in this way are turned into dog food or cheap meat. Some even face horrific live-export journeys to Europe.
What You Can Do
By broadcasting and promoting the Grand National, ITV is complicit in this suffering and abuse. Please contact ITV CEO Adam Crozier and ask him to stop broadcasting this cruel event.