The British Horseracing Authority condemns 'reckless' actions of Grand National protestors

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The Grand National Festival at Aintree Credit: PA images

The British Horseracing Authority has condemned the action of protestors who disrupted this year's Grand National at Aintree.

The start of the race on Saturday 15 April was delayed by 14 minutes after a number of protestors got onto the racecourse to try and stop the world's most famous steeplechase taking place.

The action group Animal Rising said: "In the UK alone, 49 horses have died or been killed so far this year due to horseracing: this is unacceptable.

"We are a nation of animal lovers - we shouldn't be harming animals for entertainment, food or any other reason. It's time to create a kinder future."

Three horses died at this year's meeting at Aintree including Hill 16, which died during the national.

Following the 2023 running of the Grand National, Julie Harrington, the Chief Executive Officer of the British Horseracing Authority said:

"Our thoughts are with everyone connected to the horses who suffered fatal injuries this week.

"No one will be more affected by this news than the trainers, owners and stable staff who have provided these horses with first-class care and attention throughout their lives.

"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.

"British racing works tirelessly to improve the sport’s safety record and reduce avoidable risk.

"Every incident is reviewed by the BHA alongside the racecourse and other bodies. As a sport we have for years shown great determination and commitment to improve welfare standards by taking measured scientific, evidence-based, regulatory and education-based steps.

"It is for this reason that the fatal injury rate in the sport has reduced by over 1/3 in the last 20 years, to 0.2% of runners.

"We respect the right of anyone to hold views about our sport but we robustly condemn the reckless and potentially harmful actions of a handful of people in disrupting the race at a time when horses were in the parade ring.

"Those involved in British racing are rightly proud of our sport and the role it plays in providing an unparalleled quality of life for horses bred for racing. Love and respect for horses is at the heart of everything we do.

"The Grand National is and always will be an iconic sporting event and the actions of a small number of people will do nothing to diminish its huge and enduring international appeal."