Animal Aid urges BBC to report fully on Grand National deaths


Animal Aid has written to the BBC demanding that it report fully and promptly on any horse deaths should they occur during the three-day Grand National Meeting.

The animal rights group has been a trenchant critic of the BBC, which it claims glosses over deaths at the meeting. The broadcaster relinquishes its Aintree broadcasting rights to Channel 4 next year.

Animal Aid director Andrew Tyler, in his letter to the BBC’s head of sport, Barbara Slater, says: “The BBC’s coverage of Aintree has been marked by consummate cynicism.

“Horses routinely break necks, backs and legs, while the BBC commentary team invariably pretends that all is well.

“In 2010, two broken-necked horses lay in full view of the cameras, having fallen simultaneously at Valentine’s Brook. Yet your team ignored their death throes, keeping up their breathless race commentary without missing a beat.”

Tyler wrote that Animal Aid had seen recent media comments indicating the BBC and racecourse operators “are this year determined to expunge from public view the kind of scenes that were broadcast in 2011, following the deaths of Ornais and Dooneys Gate“.

“That kind of cynical concealment would be wholly wrong – those horses perished in a race keenly promoted by the BBC, which enjoyed a massive viewing audience. The viewers deserve to know the truth … After years of dishonest reporting, the BBC can go some way to redeeming itself before handing over coverage to Channel 4.”

Animal Aid says 35 horses have perished at the meeting since 2000, 20 as a result of racing on the Grand National course itself.

It argues that course changes and other safety measures have failed to make the course safer.

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One thought on “Animal Aid urges BBC to report fully on Grand National deaths

  • June 1, 2012 at 7:16 am

    I have heard of the danger and difficulty of the Grand National for years and it doesn’t get any better. I would never put a horse to that test, it isn’t worth it.
    The Brits should examine ways to make the course safer for the participants. If the allure is to see if a horse or rider dies trying, then it should be stopped entirely.


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