Animal rights group Animal Aid has called for Cheltenham to be banned after a horse named Shallwehaveonemore died following a fatal fall on the festival’s first day.
Medics and officials couldn’t save Shallwehaveonemore, as his injuries were too severe, and tragically, he had to be put down.
Animal Aid commented that all horse racing should be banned in response to the fall.
Dene Stansall, horse racing consultant for Animal Aid said:
“Seeing Shallwehaveonemore fall today was a tragedy that is repeated year-on-year at this notorious so-called festival.
“Far from being a festival, it exudes the worst in animal cruelty with a blatant disregard for the suffering it causes – horse deaths, agonizing injuries, and the brutality of whipping animals in public. An end to horse racing would stop this horror show – the Cheltenham festival should be the first on that agenda.”
70 horses have lost their lives racing at Cheltenham since 2000.
A Cheltenham spokesman said: “Sadly Shallwehaveonemore sustained an injury in the Sky Bet Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.
“He was immediately attended to by our highly experienced veterinary team, but after extensive treatment, it was determined that it was necessary to put the horse to sleep. Our thoughts are with his connections.”
Chris Luffingham from the League Against Cruel Sports, commented on the tragic death:
“It is extremely upsetting to learn of the death of Shallwehaveonemore following the opening race of the Cheltenham festival.
“New tighter safety measures need to be introduced to stop this senseless loss of life in the name of ‘sport’. We need an independent regulatory body with horse welfare as its only concern and an end to the use of the whip which forces the horse to go beyond what it is comfortably able to do resulting in death, injuries and stress.”
Cruel and brutal sport
Horse racing is generally regarded as a harmless sport, with many believing that the horses are willing participants who enjoy racing.
But behind the scenes, they suffer immensely. A study published in 2020 found that horses experience just as much pain from whipping as humans. The research states:
“Although horse skin is thicker overall than human skin, the part of the skin that is thicker does not insulate them from the pain that is generated during a whip strike”, and that “humans and horses have the equivalent basic anatomic structures to detect pain in the skin.”
2402 deaths in 5484 Days
Shallwehaveonemore is the latest in a long line of victims. Animal Aid’s Race Horse Death Watch was launched during the 2007 Cheltenham Festival to expose and record every on-course thoroughbred fatality in Britain.
So far it has recorded 2402 deaths.
But deaths on the racecourse are just one of the tragic sides of commercial racing. The industry kills or dumps thousands of horses every year when they fail to make the grade or when their racing days are over.
Last year we reported that 4,000 former racehorses had been slaughtered since the start of 2019 in the UK and Ireland.
Tragically, many more horses will suffer and die as long as this cruel sport is allowed to continue.