What a Mare | 

Animal rights group to ‘stop the races’ at Grand National protest

Animal Rising believes the sport is cruel because it pushes horses to “race to exhaustion”.

Rachael Blackmore celebrates winning the 2021 Aintree Grand National. Picture by Scott Heppell/Reuters

Neasa CumiskeySunday World

An animal rights group plans to stage a protest at the Aintree Grand National this weekend to stop “direct harm coming to horses”.

Animal Rising believes the sport is cruel because it pushes horses to “race to exhaustion”.

Speaking to Newstalk Breakfast, spokesperson Sarah McCaffrey said that the group plan to disrupt the event, which is taking place at Aintree Racecourse near Liverpool on Saturday.

“We’ll be coming to the Grand National because we care about horses, as many of the people do who go to these horse races,” she explained.

“But, unfortunately, we’re going to be the only ones there that are stopping direct harm coming to these horses.

“This is part of a much wider campaign where we really look at our relationship to animals and we use them not only for fun but food.”

Ms McCaffrey didn’t disclose exact details about Animal Rising’s demonstrations at the Grand National but invited supporters to join them on the day.

“We’ve got some protests planned,” she said.

“We’ve got people outside the front gates at 9.30am if you want to come along but we’ll also be stopping the races as well.”

The British animal rights activist believes that the number of horses that have died racing is simply unacceptable.

“The truth is that since February in 2021, over 192 horses have died on the tracks alone.

“That doesn’t even mention the training process or what happens to them after they race to exhaustion or have been retired.”

But when host Ciara Kelly argued that banning horse racing would mean the animals wouldn’t have a purpose, Ms McCaffrey said this wasn’t the case.

“I think this really highlights the disconnect we have between horses in the fact that if we’re not using them or exploiting them, they wouldn’t exist.

“But actually, a solution that Animal Rising are focusing on is the ability to rewild land that’s being used for animal agriculture.

“If we did rewild this land, we would be able to reintroduce wild horses back in Ireland and the UK which were native here original.

“92pc of agricultural land is used for animal farming and if we rewilded this land, we could bring back nature into its glory.”

Today's Headlines

More Horse Racing

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices

WatchMore Videos