Harmless flutter can lead to cruelty

MADAM - We are fast approaching the time of year when all sorts of people who would never normally bet on horses are persuaded - whether by media hype or peer pressure at work - to have a flutter on the Grand National.

MADAM - We are fast approaching the time of year when all sorts of people who would never normally bet on horses are persuaded - whether by media hype or peer pressure at work - to have a "flutter" on the Grand National. There is, however, nothing harmless about a race that routinely inflicts serious injury and death upon the horses who take part. In total, the Aintree meeting has cost the lives of no less than 30 horses over the last ten years.

This is not surprising, given that the industry selectively breeds animals for speed rather than skeletal strength: all too often, this results in shattered limbs and broken necks or backs when it comes to jump racing - and nowhere more so than on the uniquely perilous and overcrowded Grand National course.

This is to say nothing of all the horses who are destroyed because they fail to make the grade or are destroyed when they are no longer profitable. This 'sport' is only kept alive through betting income and course attendance fees. Please don't back the cruelty - it may seem like a harmless flutter to you, but horses could pay with their lives. For more information, including a powerful 90-second film, please visit the Animal Aid website, www.animalaid.org.uk.

Sharon L Howe

Fortescue Road

Sidmouth

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