The deaths of two horses -- Ornais and Dooneys Gate -- in the 2011 Grand National caused a national outcry, after images of Ornais' tarpaulin-covered corpse were accidentally screened on television. Since 2000, 35 horses have been killed at the three-day Aintree meeting, with 20 of them dying on the Grand National course itself.
The Grand National race is deliberately hazardous. A dangerously overcrowded field of 40 horses is forced to confront 30 extraordinarily challenging and treacherous jumps, over a grueling course of four-and-a-half miles. In the 2011 Grand National, just 19 of the 40 horses completed the event. Ornais and Dooneys Gate were killed in horrific falls resulting in a broken neck and a broken back, while the winning horse, Ballabriggs -- already exhausted and dehydrated -- was mercilessly whipped in the final stages of the race.
Despite a great deal of pre-race hype, a majority of respondents to an NOP Poll commissioned by Animal Aid last year said the Grand National is "cruel" with sentiment continuing to move against the event. There is little hope that recently announced changes to the course will be any more successful at reducing the risks to horses than have previous, much-heralded adaptations.
A short film made by Animal Aid, available on the group's website, reveals the true price paid by horses entered into the annual Grand National race at Aintree.
Please view the film and support Animal Aid's campaign to get this outdated, cruel and obscene race banned for good.