RSPCA call for investigation into horse deaths at the Grand National - latest statement

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Animal charity the RSPCA called on Britain’s horse racing governing body to “review” the Grand National race.

Animal charity the RSPCA have called on Britain’s horse racing governing body to investigate the horse deaths at the 2023 Grand National. This comes after three horses died at Aintree over the weekend.

The RSPCA called for action in a statement shared to their social media channels, which said: “We urgently call on the British Horseracing Authority to review the circumstances of each of the sad deaths at Aintree, so that we never again exit a ‘festival of racing’ with three dead horses.”

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Last year, four horses died at the Aintree race , two of which were injured in the Grand National. There have been five deaths from 395 runners in the 10 Grand Nationals raced since safety changes were introduced in 2012. Additionally, this year’s race resulted in two other horses in this year’s National, Recite A Prayer and Cape Gentleman, being treated on course and taken away by horse ambulance for further assessment.

The BHA chief executive officer Julie Harrington responded: "The BHA and Aintree racecourse will now analyse the races in painstaking detail, as is the case every year, to build on our existing data and help us understand what caused these incidents."

The call to action from the RSPCA comes after a total of 118 people were arrested for protesting the Grand National race. Animal Rising said their actions "aimed to prevent" the death of horses, adding: "We want to offer our deepest condolences to anyone connected to Hill Sixteen or who has been impacted by their death.

"Horse deaths and injuries are an unavoidable consequence of the way we use animals for sport. The only way to prevent more harm from coming to these beautiful creatures is by completely re-evaluating our connection to them and finding a way of loving them that doesn’t put them in harm’s way."

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Animal Rising also added they would "welcome dialogue" with Hill Sixteen’s trainer Sandy Thomson and owner Jimmy Fyffe to discuss "how to move forwards together and really transform our relationship to horses and, indeed, to all animals and nature".

Which horses died at the 2023 Grand National?

Getty Images
  • Hill Sixteen - 10-year-old gelding was attended to by vets after falling at the first fence under jockey Ryan Mania but could not be saved.
  • Dark Raven - six-year-old horse, was put down after a fall in the Turners Mersey Novices’ Hurdle, with jockey Paul Townend on board.
  • Envoye Special died over the Grand National fences in Thursday’s Foxhunters’ Chase.
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