Horse Racing

Grand National Protests By Animal Rights Activists Lead to Arrest

While horse racing lovers are eagerly awaiting one of the biggest events this year as the Grand National race looms closer to its start, which will be the 175th edition of this famous race, not everyone at the Aintree racecourse was there to support the runners and riders.

Grand National Protests
Photo by Iconsport

A group of animal rights activists from the organization called Animal Rising planned to stage a protest at the racecourse and cause disruption to the event and one 33-year-old woman has already been arrested on the basis of coordinating disruption activities at the Grand National, according to the Merseyside Police. The suspect, who is from the London area, was arrested in Greater Manchester this morning.

Around 30 people have gathered to protest at the Aintree racecourse on Saturday morning ahead of the biggest race of the event and, according to the police, more people were supposed to join and try to prevent the Grand National race from going ahead this afternoon.

What Is the Reason for the Protests?

According to the spokesperson for Animal Rising, Nathan McGovern, “We know that if the race begins, then horses will likely die as Eclair Surf and Discorama did last year. We want to see an end to that.”

Animal Rising cites figures from campaigners at Animal Aid, which suggest that a horse dies every two to three days in UK racing. One horse already died this year at the Grand National Festival when Envoye Special fell in the Foxhunters’ Chase on Thursday. This was officially the 60th horse casualty at Aintree in the last 23 years.

The organization publicly announced their plans to try and stop the Grand National from going on by scaling fences and storming the track, with around 300 protesters planned to join with the protest.

Others said that they plan to block traffic by dong a slow march on the main access route outside the Aintree Racecourse, but all groups and organization involved in the protests clearly stated that this would be a “completely non-violent” protest.

Grand National Protest
Photo by Icon sport

Merseyside Police and The Jockey Club Ready for the Protests

According to the Mersyside Police, they already have a  “robust policing plan in place” and they are cooperating with The Jockey Club, who owns the Aintree Racecourse, to prevent any incidents.

“We are aware of some people planning to protest at the event. This has been factored into our plans. We respect the right to peaceful protest and expression of views, but criminal behaviour and disorder will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly.”

Meanwhile, a representative from Aintree Racecourse urged Animal Rising to consider whether their actions are responsible and legitimate, saying that “Their actions could endanger the horses they purport to protect, as well as jockeys, officials and themselves.”

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