Horse deaths at Aintree: charity calls for tighter safety regulations to protect horse welfare

Chris Luffingham, director of campaigns at the League Against Cruel Sports, said:

“Much has been made about the Grand National being made safer, yet we are again talking about the tragic death of a horse during the race.

This death shows starkly why the League has repeatedly called for tighter safety measures and the formation of an independent regulatory body with horse welfare at its heart.

“The death toll at the Aintree festival has now reached three horses which is simply unacceptable.”

The call is being made following figures released by the BHA that show the number of horse deaths on racecourses have reached a six-year high. In 2018 alone, 201 horses lost their lives during competitive races, but the League says just one death would be one death too many.

Chris Luffingham, said:

“National Hunt Racing is a hugely popular sport with the public, but this comes at a cost. We’ve all seen the hastily-erected screens around the fallen animals, and experienced the heartbreak that goes with it.

“With an average of nearly 200 horses dying on race tracks across Britain every year it’s clear that racing needs to give horse welfare the priority, especially for the racing calendar’s most arduous event, the Grand National.”

The League says that for the race to be run more safely the BHA should look at reducing the size of the field, the length of the race should be reduced, and all drops on the landing side of the fences should be removed - not just on the notorious Becher’s Brook jump.

With the eyes of the racing public around the world turned towards Aintree it is time to insist the racecourse and British Horseracing Authority (BHA) introduce these measures or to suspend the race entirely if they can’t be implemented.

Chris added:

“At the end of last year the British public sent a clear message to the government and the BHA via a 10,000-signature petition that horse racing should be made safer, including a call for an independent body to be set up with welfare at its heart.

“While a so-called Horse Welfare Board has been set up in response to this, there is little information about what its activities will be – but what is clear is that it falls well short of the regulatory board we and others have been calling for.

“It should be horse safety, not a public relations exercise, that is really its priority.”


Notes to editors

Information is available at, via and for the Grand National at

Sign up for our newsletter

We'd love to keep in touch. With your permission we'll let you know the very latest news on our fast-moving campaigns, as well as appeals and other actions (such as petitions) so you can continue to help protect animals.

If you would like to know more about your data protection rights, please read our privacy policy.

© 2024 The League Against Cruel Sports. Registered charity in England and Wales (1095234) and Scotland (SC045533).
Registered in England and Wales as a company limited by guarantee, no. 04037610.
Registered office: New Sparling House, Holloway Hill, Godalming, GU7 1QZ, United Kingdom.