“A tragic race again today with twelve slaves falling and two of those having to be destroyed.”

“Remember, these slaves aren’t like me and you; once they break their back they’ve had it, they’ll be immobilised and in terrible pain.”

“So its actually kinder to put them down.”

“Oh definitely.”

                                                

I happened to watch the Grand National this year and couldn’t help but be appalled by the whole event. Over a quarter of the horses fell as they tried to jump fences at speed, two of those breaking their legs and having to be put down. If that doesn’t scream ‘the fences are too high and too hard to jump’ I don’t know what would. Then of course you get the people heavily invested in the thing explaining how it wouldn’t be a sport if it wasn’t dangerous and that they have to be killed because its kinder once they’ve broken a leg. It might well be that putting a horse down is the only thing to do once it’s broken a leg, but that doesn’t mean you should keep racing them and risking their lives so needlessly.

Over a quarter of all the horses in the field fell and one twentieth died. Those aren’t good odds! Could you imagine entering yourself into a race if there was a five percent chance you wouldn’t walk away from it? The horses don’t get to make that choice. Maybe they aren’t the sorts of things that can make choices, but that means their owners and we as a community ought to be making choices for them in a responsible way How would we feel, I wonder, if it was slaves running the race, breaking their backs and dying. Would we be right in thinking it was OK because its all for sport and there needs to be a bit of danger?

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