Another Grand National has come to pass with the usual annual outrage and furore over the tragic and unnecessary deaths, suffering and injury to the horses. The 2022 event again witnessed the same carnage as previous years with 25 (60%) of the 40 horses not finishing because they were not fit enough to do so and 2 deaths to add to the long list over the decades. One sustained a traumatic head injury and was treated overnight by a team of specialist vets at Liverpool university to no avail. Two other horses died in other races at the event.
Meanwhile commentators and broadcasters reported on the jolly good time everyone had, how wonderful the ladies looked in their finery and what a fairy tale ending it was for the winning jockey, but of course as usual it was not a fairy-tale for the struggling horses.
Futile Grand National protests from animal charities.
The millionaire amateur jockey received a 9 day ban and £400 fine for over whipping the winning horse, a pointless punishment as he is now retired and when interviewed assured everyone that the welfare of his horse was at the forefront of everything he did.
The RSPCA and League Against Cruel Sports charities made their futile protestations for better safety standards as they do every year. These of course are met with the usual responses from the racing authorities who insist they have introduced measures over the last decade that have reduced the injury rate which is blatantly not so.
Ban the Grand National
The calls for stricter safety measures that follow every Grand National will come to nothing because the only realistic way of making it safe for the horses is to ban the event altogether and this will never happen.
It will never happen because the National is proclaimed as the most famous race in the world, the most prestigious and popular event of the year and a ritual beloved by most of the British public. It also makes many people rich and swells the coffers of the betting and equine industry, Treasury and associated businesses. Realistically it is impossible to put a stop to it.
But is it really worth the lives and suffering of so many horses? Well, it would appear that in most people’s eyes the answer is yes. So, it is probably time to accept that the UK is not the nation of animal lovers with the best animal welfare legislation in the world, because if it was, we would not allow this to happen every year.