Four horses have died so far at this year’s Aintree meeting
The animals suffered horrific deaths. Two of them – Gullinbursti and Minella Reception – somersaulted and landed on their necks on April 8, the second day of the three-day meeting.
Gullinbursti, a 10-year-old horse who had missed last season due to a tendon injury, was competing in the fiercely contested Topham Chase.
Minella Reception fell at the notorious Becher’s Brook. He was put put down because of the severity of his injuries.
On the event’s first day, Clonbanan Lad and Marasonnien were killed in the Fox Hunters’ Chase.
These tragic fatalities make this the deadliest Grand National in the last three years. Since 2000, 42 horses have died at Aintree.
Andrew Tyler, director of Animal Aid, told Metro.co.uk: ‘It remains a perversely evil thing, a wicked thing to make horses do.
‘Whether or not horses die during these events, they still crash to the ground, they somersault.
‘There’s nothing remotely natural about this event. There’s a field full of people, full of noise, and there’s more whipping done at these big meetings. So you’ve got the noise, the hype… all of this anxiety is transferred to the horses.
‘There’s a law against causing animals unnecessary suffering – the Animal Welfare Act. This event causes animals unnecessary suffering.’
And an RSPCA spokesman told Metro.co.uk that they were ‘deeply saddened’ by the fatalities.
‘The death of any horse is always one too many,’ he said. ‘We, along with World Horse Welfare, will look very closely at the race footage and at what happened to see if the deaths could have been avoided or if any lessons can be learned to prevent future injuries and deaths.
‘We will share our findings with the British Horseracing Authority and if we have any recommendations, together we will do all we can to ensure that they are followed by the racing industry.’
John Baker, who runs Aintree racecourse, told Metro.co.uk: ‘We’d like to express our sympathies to the connections of the horses.
‘You can’t remove all risk from any sport but we acted on evidence to make significant changes here at Aintree, including to the cores of every fence on the Grand National Course, and we’ve seen hundreds of horses compete safely since over the last few years.
‘From 90,000 runners each year British Racing has an equine loss rate of less than 0.2%. This is down by a third over the last 15 years and we must keep working to see that continue to decrease.’