On Cheltenham Gold cup day, the 15th March members of the League and the League Gloucestershire group joined up with other local activists in the town centre to campaign against the Cheltenham Festival. Tuesday, the opening day of the Cheltenham festival had already seen the death of Ballyward and Gold cup day was about to see the tragic deaths of two more horses, Sir Erec and Invitation Only.

Cheltenham Festival protest 2019

The protest was a mix of members from many local groups including the League, Gloucestershire Outreach Advocacy Team, Three County Hunt saboteurs and other individuals all united to end horse deaths at Cheltenham. The day started with a lovely vegan brunch cooked by wonderful supporter and animal advocate Karen in aid of local activism. In the high street we set up a circle of silence where protestors held placards and stood next to a gravestone which named all the horses that have died in the last 10 years at the Cheltenham Festival. Many League and Animal Aid leaflets were handed out to the public informing them of the cruelty of horse racing which many locals found shocking.

The location of the protest was directly in front of the queues for the free buses to the racecourse so plenty of interesting conversations were had. We don’t know if we changed any minds of those in the queue from going to the races but we certainly opened up their eyes. One lady passing by told one of our colleagues that after listening to what he had said she would never be placing a bet again! (Well done Gordon)

The protest was extremely successful. Throughout the day the reaction was very positive with residents thanking us for being there. According to some it is the “worst week of their lives” due to increased traffic, drunken behaviour by some race goers and of course the deaths of race horses.

Emily Lawrence, Regional Campaign Manager at Cheltenham Festival protest 2019

Here in Gloucestershire we are being very successful in working with local groups and supporting each other with stalls and campaigns. We are pleased to be invited to meet regularly with other campaign groups in the county who are doing such positive work. We all want to improve the lives of animals and to put an end to the persecution and exploitation of animals in sport. Together we are stronger and together we can make a difference.

If you are interested in getting active with the League Against Cruel Sports please think about joining a supporter group. By joining a local supporter group you can meet like minded people, help at some wonderful events and contribute to end the suffering of animals in cruel sports.

More information can be found here: https://www.league.org.uk/horse-racing