Total Cheltenham Death Toll Rises

Posted by on March 15, 2019 | Permalink

With the festival on for yet another season, the death toll for horses subjected to this cruelty continues to rise, now counting three deaths at Cheltenham in 2019 alone.

©Animal Aid

One of the many other horses who has suffered a similar fate on a British race track.


Killed following a fatal injury
Age 7

Sir Erec
Killed following shattered foreleg pastern
Age 4

Invitation Only
Killed following a fatal injury
Age 8

How Horses Suffer in Racing

Horses bred for greed and speed are pushed beyond their natural abilities and forced to run at breakneck pace. Those who don’t sustain horrific injuries when they crash face-first onto the track may suffer heart attacks, bleed from their lungs, or develop painful ulcers and other health problems that come only from being pushed to the breaking point for human amusement.

©Liss Ralston

Drugs – both legal and illegal – have been administered by trainers and even veterinarians to mask pain in some cases so that horses who should be recuperating instead run with injuries, exacerbating them.

A Survivor’s ‘Life’ After Racing

Even those who make it off the track alive often don’t live happily ever after. Every year, thousands of horses – including spent Thoroughbreds and those who don’t “make the grade” – are discarded like used betting slips.

They’re abandoned, neglected, or sold for slaughter, their flesh ending up either in dog or cat food or as “prime cuts” for human consumption in Europe and Asia.

What You Can Do

Cheltenham Festival is not alone when it comes to exploiting horses – approximately 200 die on racetracks across the UK every year.

Just as ITV broadcasts Cheltenham, the channel continues to show the Grand National, despite growing public awareness of the suffering of horses in the racing industry. Please send a message to ITV Chair Sir Peter Bazalgette and ask him to take this cruel event off our screens.