Three horses died at Grand National horse jumping race in England

Three horses die at Grand National horse jumping race in England
Horse Envoye Special ridden by James King before his death, Aintree Racecourse, Liverpool, England, April 13, 2023, credit: Reuters/Jason Cairnduff

Horses Hill Sixteen, Dark Raven and Envoye Special died at the Grand National, a horse jumping race held annually at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, England. Animal rights campaigners, who tried to stop the race, are outraged the animals died.

The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) said on Sunday it would investigate the deaths of the three horses at the Grand National meeting.

During Saturday’s main hurdle race, the 10-year-old horse Hill Sixteen suffered a fatal fall at the first fence, breaking his neck. Two other horses, Recite A Prayer and Cape Gentleman, were being examined by veterinary staff during the same race.

The nine-year-old horse Envoye Special died on the first day of the race. The six-year-old Dark Raven had to be put down after taking a heavy fall.

On Saturday afternoon, just before the race began, animal rights protesters from Animal Rising stormed the course, prompting police intervention and several arrests. The group expressed their heartbreak over the deaths, calling for an end to the “horrific industry.”

The race, which ran for the 175th time this year, is known for its challenging fences, resulting in many horse fatalities and injuries. This has led to growing concerns about the welfare of the animals and calls for reform within the industry.

Animal welfare organization Animal Aid called for a ban on jump racing to prevent further tragedies. “Since 2001, around 3,000 horses have been raced to death – cruelty which has no place in modern Britain,” Animal Aid said.

A group of animal rights activists had gathered outside Aintree racecourse at the beginning of the event to protest against one of Britain’s most prestigious and historic sporting events. The demonstrators held signs condemning horse racing and expressed their concern for the welfare of the animals involved.

The protesters’ signs displayed messages such as “You bet, they die,” and called for a ban on horse racing, highlighting the potential dangers and cruelty associated with the sport. 

Horses can live for 25 to 30 years on average, although some may live into their 30s or even 40s with proper care and management. The longevity of a horse depends on factors such as breed, genetics, health, and living conditions.


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