News, Blog & Research Latest News Gambling with horse welfare over Aintree jump hazards is unacceptable The British public are being called on by the League Against Cruel Sports to abstain from betting on this year’s Grand National after a horse died on the first day of the Aintree meeting. The three day meet which got underway on Thursday saw the ten year old Lilbitluso put down after falling at the Canal Turn. The League is once again urging people to think twice before placing bets. The charity is warning that until horse welfare is put above profit, entertainment and ‘sport’, horses will continue to suffer and die on race-courses including Aintree. Six horses died during the 2016 three day festival, four on the Grand National course and two racing on Aintree’s Mildmay course. Since 2000, 49 horses have been killed during the highly lucrative meet. The death of Lilbitluso this year follows on from six deaths at the recent Cheltenham Festival. Chris Luffingham, League Against Cruel Sports Director of Campaigns, said: “If you are an animal-lover then give a thought for the horses that are being made to take huge risks in order to line people’s pockets and provide a cheap spectacle. We urge animal-lovers to take a step back from all the hype and think about what they are actually betting on and the risks to the horses. Sadly, there could be horses that will lose out and meet their end in a hastily erected white tent at the bottom of a jump. “Race organisers need to get their act together and to stop trotting out lame excuses about the safety of their tracks. With an average of nearly 200 horses dying on race tracks across Britain every year, it’s clear that animal welfare needs to be taken more seriously. “We are calling on the public to sign an epetition from Animal Aid which urges the government to set up an independent regulatory body, with horse welfare as its only interest, which will take meaningful action to stop horses dying.” The League continues to call for the abolition of the Aintree Grand National until a number of welfare improvements have been implemented. These include a reduction in the number of riders in any race from 40 to a maximum of 30; a ban on the use of the whip; the removal of the dangerous Becher’s Brook jump; and for all drops on the landing side of fences to be removed. ENDS Petition The League is encouraging members of the public to sign their petition titled ‘stop the killing of animals by hunts in the UK’. www.league.org.uk/huntingkills ENDS Notes to Editors For more information or interview requests please contact the League Against Cruel Sports Press Office on 01483 524250 (24hrs) or email [email protected] The League Against Cruel Sports is Britain's leading charity that works to stop animals being persecuted, abused and killed for sport. The League was instrumental in helping bring about the landmark Hunting Act. We carry out investigations to expose law-breaking and cruelty to animals and campaign for stronger animal protection laws and penalties. We work to change attitudes and behaviour through education and manage sanctuaries to protect wildlife. Find out more about our work at www.league.org.uk. Registered charity in England and Wales (no.1095234) and Scotland (no.SC045533).