The outcry is great. Activists are calling for a ban on such competitions following the death of three horses at the traditional Grand National horse race at Aintree racecourse near Liverpool. “Such races must be banned to prevent a repeat of the brutal atrocities we saw in Aintree this week,” a spokesman for animal rights group Animal Aid told the British PA news agency over the weekend. Other groups also sharply condemned the event.
The race was overshadowed by the deaths of three horses after falls and by massive protests. One horse died on Thursday and two more on Saturday. Some activists also climbed fences and gained access to the racetrack, where they glued themselves to obstacles. More than 100 people have been provisionally arrested, according to Merseyside Police in Liverpool.
The steeplechase race has been heavily criticized by animal rights activists for decades, despite the fact that the obstacles have been relaxed and the number of participants has been reduced, because over the years numerous jockeys have fallen heavily with their horses and animals have died.
The League Against Cruel Sports organization said 62 horses had died in Aintree since 2000. Animal rights activists at Peta UK said the race is one of the longest and most dangerous in the world and that the high risk factor is part of the reason it has become so famous. The British Horseracing Authority defended itself: They are constantly improving the conditions and are working on each case in order to learn from it.