Needs to be banned.
I have mixed feelings towards this race. I do think there should definatly be less participents involved in this race as it is just far to crowded. The length should possibly also be reduced but as for the height of the fences I think if they get lowered again it will just speed up the race and it is the speed that causes most accidents. Anyone who is 100% against this race should be against racing in general as horses don't only die in this race but in many flat races too. Atleast at the Grand National there is a vet at every fence ready to put the poor horses out of pain whereas in some flat races the horses have to wait for a vet to get too them. I do not watch horse racing as I don't really like it I think whips are unnecessary, if a horse wanted to run you wouldn't need a whip to make it but I think if racing was banned then that would be an end to thoroughbreds as we know them. They're amazing animals and I think some things do need to be changed in horse racing and the Grand National but I think they need to look at it from every angle before lowering fences and speeding it up.
It's very cruel please ban it.
It is a barbaric race, there are too many high jumps and too many horses in the race, it there is an accident there is no place for the horses jumping to go.
It should be banned, we are supposed to be a country of animal lovers. I never watch the race as it is too upsetting, The jockeys have a choice but the horses don't and they shouldn't be allowed to whip them so.
I have always been against this kind of sport, now that a human being has been hurt perhaps they'll take it more seriously. A horse has no choice, it runs in the direction that it's beaten!
This might sound harsh, but if each jockey whose horse died in the race was exectuted, would any jockeys then get on horses in subsequent races. The answer is no. This shows that jockeys and trainers and owners are treating their horses like disposable commoditities. This doesn't belong in the 21st Century.
In my mind there is no question about reform - this barbaric blood sport, because that's all it is, must stop.
Why do we purport to be a nation of animal lovers when we continue to glamourise this hellish event - could it be because of the revenue it raises for owners, bookies and punters alike.
It's been said previously, but it is akin to bull fighting and every single person who takes part in this by entering a sweepstake or placing a bet has blood on their hands.
Lets take some real action now and stop faffing about!!
This race should be banned and I suggest that those who support it should run the race themselves.The jockey has the choice of whether he wants to ride,the horse doesn't. How an owner can put a beautiful creature like a horse into such a race is beyond me-----this race should and must be stopped.
What can we do to make this the last year ever for this embarassing 'National' spectacle. Enough horses have now died in fear and pain. Personally I'd simply ban it but realisticly there is too much money involved to allow this to happen. What could happen is that the race is made safer, fewer participants smaller jumps shorter distance, perhaps other things, I'm no expert. Does the audience, financial take and betting really rely on the prospect of frightened horses dieing in pain to ensure maximum financial gain? Surely the Nation isn't as sick as this?
@Nicola: Lowering the fences wouldn't speed the race up, it would simply alter the height the horses have to fall from. Lower fences would allow the horses to maintain a horizontal momentum, rather than have that exchanged to a vertical momentum.
If you jump over something low, it has far less impact and strain on your legs, than dropping from 6 foot. Your legs are less likely to buckle as less wieght it being directed downwards. To be honest, showjumping is as bad, because they force horses to jump higher, and with similar consequences. http://www.metro.co.uk/news/372564-zara-injured-as-horse-dies-in-fall
@the topic in question: We cannot keep forcing animals to risk their life for our enjoyment... unless you can honestly say that watching animals risk their life, is enjoyable.
If we jump beyond our limits, it hurts, and we stop. The only way people seem to accept a horse has jumped beyond its limits, is when it falls and dies. That's unacceptable in a civilised society... if that is what we really are of course.
It is barbaric, why does the jockey need the whip if the horse is 'lovin' it?
It should be banned, gambling is just a human pleasure and encourages greed ,therefore it should not include the use of animals.
BAN this race & all races, whatever the animal involved. We are supposed to be a nation of animal lovers, I see no love in these peoples eyes, just £ signs. Disgraceful, disgusting, barbaric.
This has been going on for years and nothing has ever been done about it. Why? Because it is all about money and nobody in authority really cares about the welfare of the horses. Why doesn't the RSPCA stand up and deplore the cruelty? Isn't that what they are supposed to be about or do they worry about losing the 'R' part of their name?
How can we in the UK campaign against bull fighting and other animal cruelty abroad when we allow this barbaric 'sport' to take place in our own country???
I was absolutely horrified to see this happen. I'm not sure how I've gone about my life not knowing about this, but my eyes are well and truly open now.
Everyone started talking about the race mid-week and by Saturday, Leeds filled with National-Mania. Me and the girls put it on to see what all the hype was about. To our horror and extreme distress, we watched two horses fall to their deaths right before our eyes.
This must stop. We really should know better than to allow these animals to suffer in this way, for the sake of entertainment and money.
What can I do to help stop this happening again?
Im unfortunate to be related to an acclaimed jockey. I have been shot down in arguments by him about this for years - Ive questioned the internally damaged organs of the horses, the externally wrecked limbs and the humiliation of being ridden to their deaths. I am not a supporter of the Royal Family either as they promote this 'royal sport of kings' - isnt it time living beings took precedence over greed and 'sport' arranged by the greedy in our society?
Its barbaric, antiquated and damaging to the lives of animals and to the psyche of society.
ps. I formally disown myself from that jockey - Christmas cards are REALLY out from now on!
It's barbaric that we still have this race. People always point out that jockeys get hurt as well as the horses, but the horses have no choice about competing, whereas the jockeys do. It should have been banned many years ago.
Marc Lynton Latham
I'm usually totally on message with LACS, but on this one I disagree with a ban, although I support greater legislation.
I think the race should continue, but with more safety restrictions imposed, such as a shorter race with less runners and smaller fences.
I actually work in a betting shop, while being totally for animal welfare and against hunting and other blood sports. I'm not writing this on their behalf, these are just my personal feelings.
I am not generally interested in animal racing, and the Grand National is about the only race that I make a point of watching, as I grew up with it and it gets everybody's interest.
While I think any animal dying young is a tragedy, and horses don't volunteer to race, they obviously enjoy it, and get treated like royalty while alive.
The jockey that was injured did volunteer, and it's the same for people who race cars and bikes or box.
I think a lot of horses would also volunteer to live and race in that way if given the chance as humans are.
Compare that to many horses' lives, where they are bred for food or lives of toil and drudgery, and I think there are more important animal welfare issues than banning horse racing, although as I said before, racing should have as many safety considerations as possible.
One more instance of man using our beautiful animals for his own gain and greed. ALL racing involving animals should be banned. Let the men who want to bet, get out and run themselves into the ground.
The industry as a whole is corrupt beyond measure and as has been pointed out above, is designed purely to make money. The industry is aware of the poor perception the public has of it, mostly from the perspective of animal welfare, and has set up a number of registerd charity based organisations across the country to allegedly rehome retired race horses. Have a look at Moorcroft racehorse welfare centre online and it looks fantastic. The reality is that the horses there seldom get rehomed and are ultimately put to sleep to make space for new animals. Horse passports are modified ( an illegal practice ) and the animals spend huge amounts of time on bute , an equine painkiller, to make them more docile. I have first hand experience of this disgusting practice.
Whilst racing, the animals are generally well looked after ( they are an investment, after all, for the owner ) but practices such as pin firing and bar firing ( designed to create scar tissue on tendons to increase the strength of them, to lessen the potential for injury ) are common.
The League would do well to expose that side of racing, the sham of aftercare.
My thoughts? making the races less arduous for the animals would obviously help, but ultimately human greed will prevail. Makes me sick.
Please ban this barbaric sport.
I fail to comprehend how this is allowed to happen year after year. It's time we prioritized animal welfare and not just personnal gain and so called entertainment. I'm extremely surprised that this race is allowed to take place and that so many people continue to support it without seemingly any regard for the horses. I dread this race every year knowing what's going to happen and will continue to boycott it. I have very little sympathy for the jockey, he knew the risks and chose to take part, the horses didn't. Very sad over Ornais and Dooney's Gate.
The RSPCA and other groups have been trying to ban the Grand National for many years. This is nothing new. The only difference I can see now is that more people are aware of the cruelty and needless deaths of these creatures in the name of sport. I hope now the League and the RSPCA will get more support in ending this once and for all. But it will not be easy. We have seen that with the fight against fox hunting with dogs. We must fight on.
This needs to be banned along with all the rest of the racing of horses and also greyhounds , why should any animal be forced into doing something they can't speak to tell us yes or no so greedy humans come up with the theory that they enjoy it jus to Try and ease their own concionse, something needs to be done and done now before another animal looses its life , another bug of mine being the major supermarkets one of which I work for are still even though it has been proven that they're quality is far from as good allowed to sell battery eggs, can we do anything to stop this, one voice is not enough , we need everyone who feels this way to unite on this and start applying some real pressure
Whilst I agree that the Grand National should be banned I think we need to look further than this. I believe that Cheltenham is the worst race course and that the deaths on this track have been as bad if not worse than Aintree. I used to watch horse racing in my teens and was absolutely mad on the horses involved. Some of the horrendous deaths at other meets have been equally as sickening as those of the national. If my information is correct the fences at other race tracks including Cheltenham have a solid pole across the top and then covered in bush. This means that the horse would fall even if it just clipped the top. The GN fences I do believe do not have the pole hence the horses can plough through them. This does not mean they are safe by any means and it is not done for the sake of the horses but because the GN fences are not permanent, unlike other tracks. You also have to look at the betting on the two horses that died - they were both outsiders and basically had no chance unless the fancied favourites came a cropper. These two horses were put in on a pure chance - in affect 'cannon fodder'. Poor sods they never stood a real chance.
All sports that use animals for entertainment should be banned. The deaths at Aintree of Dooneys Gate and Ornais was sickening, followed soon after by two more horse deaths, Regal Heights and Minella Four Star when they collapsed and died after the Scottish Grand National. Hurdles should be banned - horse racing and greyhound racing should be banned and the lady who commented that if hurdles were abolished racing would speed up and become more dangerous is absolute rubbish. She is simple relaying what one of the trainers said. Horseracing is full of greed and cruelty - that's why it's called the sport of kings!
By its very nature this annual abomination in the name of sport is a blood sport. Owners, trainers, jockeys and punters should examine their consciences, accept that there are limits of endurance for these beautiful, brave animals and modify this race without delay. Shame on every individual involved.
The horses do love it, they would refuse to race if they did'nt and anyone who has worked with horses will know you cant make them do something they dont want to. The whips jockeys carry now are padded to stop horses being injured but there are still restrictions against excessive force and frequency of use. Those who have already stated that lowering fences and shortening the distance would only make the race faster and more dangerous are absolutley right, although i do agree the number of runners could be lowered. Having read through these comments I find it disguting that people who clearly know nothing about the life and psychie of race horses can be so adamant that they know whats best, I have seen commentss saying leave these beautiful creatures alone alone to do what? wander round the streets? If it was'nt for racing they wouldnt have a life at all, and make no mistake these animals are loved and cherished throughout their careers.