5 April 2014
Mark Dawes from Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party joined the demonstration outside Channel 4 against the Grand National as the race took place on Saturday April 5th. Channel 4 support the Grand National by broadcasting the race.
The demonstration was organised by the animal rights organisation Animal Aid and the horses that have died in the Grand National since 1989 were remembered in silence. Whilst, fortunately, there were no fatalities in this year’s race, the course is enormously risky to horses and riders alike. The Grand National is still five times more lethal to horses than other steeplechases, with the last two decades being the most dangerous in the race’s history. Despite numerous changes to the course and conditions of the race over the past 50 years, 35 horses are known to have lost their lives, while many others have been injured. According the British Horseracing Authority, ‘Jump racing accounts for just over 4 fatalities of every thousand runners.’ This equates to 0.4%. For the last 1,000 runners (from 1987 to 2013) in the Grand National, there were 23 deaths (which equates to 2.3%). Therefore, the Grand National is over five times more deadly than other jump races.
“It is time this cruel race was ended” said Mark Dawes of Waltham Forest and Redbridge Green Party, “The suffering of animals should not be a source of entertainment”.
“It is ironic that Channel 4 are broadcasting the race as it was Channel 4 with their showing of the Animals film on their third night on air in 1982 that inspired me to become a vegetarian and get involved in animal rights campaigns” he added.