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We work to expose and end the cruelty inflicted on animals in the name of sport

Aintree & Grand National

Exploitation and Cruelty? A Sure Bet!

The Grand National

Help the League in our campaigning to put animal welfare at the top of the agenda at the Aintree Grand National. 

bechers brookThe Grand National (3-5 April 2014) is the most high profile and profitable in the racing calendar, unfortunately it is also one of the most dangerous for the horses and the high number of fatalities in recent years makes it clear that unnecessary suffering is being caused for sport. 

The League is calling for the abolition of the Aintree Grand National until and unless it improves its practices to such an extent that animal welfare and not the ‘unique character’ of the race is the priority.

What you can do

  • Don’t bet on the Grand National
  • Explain to people why you feel the Grand National is dangerous to horses
  • Campaign online - Share on Twitter / Facebook
  • Contact your MP 
  • Send a complaint to race organisers:  Contact Aintree
  • Contact the Grand National sponsor, Crabbie’s asking for them to remove sponsorship until welfare is improved 


  • 79 horses have died in total during the Grand National race 

Since the year 2000: 

  • 40 horses have died during the 3 day race meet
  • 24 horses have died on the Grand National course 
  • 11 have died as a result of the main Grand National race
  • Since 2002, 10 horses have died in the Fox Hunters’ Chase and the Topham Trophy (both follow the same course as the Grand National)
  • In the 2013 Grand National meeting, Battlefront collapsed after being pulled up during the John Smith's Fox Hunters' Steeple Chase on day one of racing at Aintree and Little Josh fell along with several other horses, four fences before the end of The John Smith's Topham Steeple Chase, breaking a shoulder and later being put down

Grand National Facts

  • The Grand National is on average five times more dangerous than other steeplechase events . 
  • 600 million people watch the Grand National from around the globe
  • An estimated £500 million is wagered in Britain on Grand National day
  • The field of 40 horses must travel around the course twice making a total distance of 4 miles 3 furlongs, 110 yards (the longest steeplechase in hunt racing)
  • The runners must navigate over 30 jumps (a total of 16 individual jumps, 14 are jumped twice)
  • The infamous Becher’s Brook is one of the most difficult of all the fences. The fence is jumped as the horses are about to turn left and is larger than the two before. The most difficult aspect of this jump is the drop on the landing side
  • Since 1990 at least one horse has died in 58% of Grand National races