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Five Horses Killed in Two Days at Cheltenham

Five Horses Killed in Two Days at Cheltenham

England’s Cheltenham Festival is coming under scrutiny and drawing ire from the public and animal welfare organizations after five horses were killed in only two days of racing.

Scotsirish and Garde Champetre were euthanized on the first day after fracturing legs on the flat, along with Educated Evans, who broke a leg at a fence during the final race that day. Two more horses, Featherbed Lane and Abergavenny, also suffered from broken legs the following day and were also  euthanized.

Yet another horse, Wishfull Thinking, fell and crashed through the rail taking out his jockey and a photographer (video).

‘The news that five horses have now been killed in just two days of racing at Cheltenham confirms the reputation of the Festival as a bloody and unforgiving event. The race that claimed today’s two victims could easily have killed more, given the numerous alarming incidents. It featured an insanely crowded field of 28 runners, who would have found it difficult to position themselves safely when approaching the numerous obstacles. Adding to the risk was the noisy, frenetic Festival atmosphere in which the horses have to race. Cheltenham has now killed 38 horses since 2000. Calling it a sporting event is a travesty,’ according to Animal Aid.

Many believe the track was too hard due to dry weather, but officials had watered it and are claiming they had no reason to believe it was unsafe. The British Horseracing Authority (BHA) will be launching an investigation, but appears to be playing down the deaths.

“There is a threshold of fatalities over the year at Cheltenham that would trigger further careful analysis, but we are nowhere near that yet,” said Robin Mounsey, the BHA’s communications manager.

The RSPCA and the League Against Cruel Sports also spoke out about the deaths and expressed concern over the use of whips. Five jockeys were punished for using them excessively and inappropriately.

“Any death on any racecourse simply cannot be justified,” said the RSPCA’s equine consultant David Muir.

According to Animal Aid’s website Race Horse Death Watch, 804 horses have died on tracks in Britain in the last five years, which doesn’t take into account the number of horses who have died and continue to be killed in accidents off the track or are sold to whoever will take them because they’re not making anybody any money. Sadly, the death toll will continue to rise for nothing more than greed and entertainment.

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Photo credit: Paolo Camera

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619 comments

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10:10AM PDT on Apr 9, 2013

Somebody keeps stealing the spotlight here, and attaching others. Reported!

8:57AM PDT on Apr 9, 2013

Dianne L: Fresh from promoting the eating of guinea pigs on one post, here you are promoting the exploitation of horse racing. I hope your bosses gave you a raise.

5:28AM PDT on Apr 9, 2013

Let's stop horse racing now!

4:16PM PDT on Jun 21, 2012

:(

8:40AM PDT on May 21, 2012

THE POOR HORSES HAVE TO SUFFER JUST TO SATISFY THESE GREEDY PEOPLE WHO SEE NOTHING BUT DOLLAR SIGNS IN THERE SICK BRAINS.THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS AND SHOULD BE TREATED BETTER SO THEY CAN LIVE A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE.IF I HAD ANY AUTORITY I WOULD SHUT DOWN ALL THE RACING OF THE HORSES.

8:39AM PDT on May 21, 2012

THE POOR HORSES HAVE TO SUFFER JUST TO SATISFY THESE GREEDY PEOPLE WHO SEE NOTHING BUT DOLLAR SIGNS IN THERE SICK BRAINS.THEY ARE BEAUTIFUL ANIMALS AND SHOULD BE TREATED BETTER SO THEY CAN LIVE A LONG AND HAPPY LIFE.IF I HAD ANY AUTORITY I WOULD SHUT DOWN ALL THE RACING OF THE HORSES.

9:20PM PDT on May 20, 2012

Sheila, very WELL SAID, once again. I have a rescued TB mare that was bred to run, by mentally, she's far too lazy. Her sire was very successful on the track and so was HIS sire. The winner of the KD and Preakness (I'll Have Another) and my mare share many common ancestors, and they look very much alike..........identical color and similar facial markings. I saw a photo of him crossing the finish line at Churchill Downs........hadn't even broken a sweat, ears forward, eyes calm and he looked half asleep.

I still think 3-yr-olds shouldn't be raced, but seems that with properly selected races, expert and common sense methods used in training, they can live long and happy lives. Keeping my fingers crossed for another win in 3 weeks and hope like Zenyatta's owners, his will then opt to retire him as he deserves, maybe with a plateful of those cookies he was named after.

8:50PM PDT on May 20, 2012

True, Gene, but with rare exceptions, NOTHING done with animals exactly is 100% for their benefit........NOTHING. So, would you suggest we no longer use dogs for hunting, therapy, drug enforcement, SAR, or herding? Would you suggest we never use horses for anything that isn't 100% what they want to do naturally? BTW, many do enjoy galloping and running around, and will actually compete with pasturemates to "get there" quickest.


BTW. WHY all the recent comments to this discussion? It's a pretty old one, actually. actually.

8:33PM PDT on May 20, 2012

Horse racing of any kind has nothing at all to do with benefiting horses - - - like everything else human beings do - it is for and about human beings - whether done for egos - enjoyment - or financial gain - horses pay the price - - -

2:27PM PDT on May 20, 2012

WHAT PEOPLE DO FOR ENTERTEINING THEMSELVES USING ANIMALS...IS SICK.... RADER SEEING KILLING EACHOTHER ON RAGA OR FOOTBALL ,CRICKET ETC..BUT PLEASE STOP USING MEDIEVAL PRACTICES ON POOR ANIMALS.......SHUT THIS PLACES.... BAD PEOPLE

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