Animal rights campaigners criticise 'exploitative' racing industry over death of Seedling at Aintree

The horse fell at the second-to-last hurdle in the first race of Grand National day

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Animal rights groups have condemned the racing industry after the death of Seedling in the Mersey Novices’ hurdle race at Aintree.

The horse was allegedly killed instantly after she fell at the second-to-last hurdle during the first race of Grand National day. Nichols Canyon, ridden by Ruby Walsh, went on to win the race.

Seedling, who was one of 12 horses in the race, was towards the back of the pack and is thought to have taken the hurdle “unsighted”, leading to the fall.

Andrew Tyler, director of the Animal Aid group, said that the horse “bounced like a rag doll. It’s very depressing, but not unusual”.

“We believe that horse racing is inherently exploitative and lethal for horses,” he told The Independent.

“We want the Grand National banned. It’s a disgusting, exploitative race. It’s an appalling thing to set before horses.

“There’s been barely been a sentence about Seedling in the media. She’s just another largely invisible casualty of the industry, the jockey was up riding another horse shortly after,” he added.


Since 2000, 16 other horses have died on the Mildmay course at Aintree, while 24 have been killed on the Grand National course, 11 of which were deaths during the famous race. About 200 horses die in horse races across the country every year.

In 2011, a poll commissioned by Animal Aid found that a majority of respondents thought the Grand National was cruel.

The course is considered too long, with too many demanding fences to jump by many campaigners.

Tom Quinn, campaigns director for the League Against Cruel Sports said:  “Any animal death in the name of sport is a pointless tragedy and completely preventable. 

"Since 2000, more than 40 horses have been killed at this highly profitable 3-day event because organisers prioritise the ‘unique character’ of the race over the safety of horses and jockeys. The welfare of the horses must be paramount and placed above profits.” 

He added: “The League Against Cruel Sports has called for a ban on the race meeting until a number of welfare improvements have been made.”

Aintree has been approached for comment.