Opinion Former Article

RSPCA: the Grand National is still too risky for the horses. It’s the unacceptable face of racing

Statement in response to British Horseracing Authority’s initial findings into a review of the 2012 Grand National

Gavin Grant, chief executive of the RSPCA, said: “Despite safety improvements the Grand National is still too risky for the horses. It’s the unacceptable face of racing - we must not see horses dying year after year.

“I have written to the British Horseracing Authority and the management of Aintree Racecourse raising major concerns about aspects of the Grand National. I have asked for an urgent meeting to discuss making the race safer.

“We need change, a smaller and better qualified field, an end to killer fences like Becher’s Brook which we believe was instrumental in the deaths of both Synchronised and According To Pete.

“We hope the BHA and Aintree will work with the RSPCA to make the Grand National a true test of jockeys’ skills but not at the cost of horses’ lives.”

On the advice of the RSPCA’s horseracing consultant, David Muir, and our team of experienced equine inspectors, who were positioned at the jumps, we are submitting a report and call for the following seven key actions.

• The number of starters should be reduced and restricted to experienced horses and jockeys
• Becher’s Brook is removed
• Core of fences should be re-designed to be more forgiving for horses
• Drop landings on fences levelled
• The start should be changed
• Horses that bolt and unseat jockeys to be automatically withdrawn
• Positioning of horse catchers and communications should be urgently reviewed


RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex RH13 9RS
Press office direct lines: 0300 123 0244/0288 Fax: 0303 123 0099
Duty press officer (evenings and weekends) Tel 08448 222888 and ask for pager number 828825
Email: press@rspca.org.uk Website: www.rspca.org.uk


Save the Date! RSPCA Week 30 April - 6 May 2012 Visit www.rspcaweek.org.uk to download your guide to fundraising!
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Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals registered charity no: 219099 Registered office: RSPCA, Wilberforce Way, Southwater, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 9RS 

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