The Grand National 2017 Meeting – Deadlier Than Ever

Last year’s Aintree Grand National Meeting (2016) was the most deadly this century. Six horses died as a result of the three days of racing. Despite the authorities stating the race itself is getting safer, the reality is that the Grand National Course remains a significant killer of horses. Four of the six victims perished on the Grand National Course; the worst total since before the year 2000. The two other victims died as a result of racing on Aintree’s Mildmay course.


Aintree’s Grand National Course Victims

  • Gullinbursti – fell and broke his neck
  • Minella Reception – he fell and was killed
  • Marasonnien – he collapsed and died
  • Clonbanan Lad – he collapsed and died

Aintree’s Mildmay Course Victims

  • Kings Palace – he was pulled up injured, and was destroyed
  • Arzal – destroyed off the course due to an injury from his race


Despite recent changes to the Grand National Course – in an attempt to diminish public disquiet – it continues to be emblematic of its notorious past as the most searching test of the thoroughbred race horse. There are sixteen inimitable and exceptionally tough fences to contend with, fourteen of which are often jumped in races more than once. The pace of the races is usually frantic and many horses carry very heavy weights over exhausting distances.

The Mildmay is a sharp and fast course with stiff (hard) fences, and hurdles that come quickly upon the runners.

Says Animal Aid’s Horse Racing Consultant, Dene Stansall:

‘Animal Aid believes that there are significant factors that contribute to equine death and injury at Aintree – which has seen 48 fatalities who have fallen victim to the testing race conditions since the year 2000 at the annual three-day festival. It remains, however, the responsibility of the racecourse, which is owned by The Jockey Club, and racing’s regulator, the British Horseracing Authority, to resolve what is a major animal welfare issue.’

Notes to Editors:

  1. For more information, contact Dene Stansall, Fiona Pereira or Isobel Hutchinson on 01732 364546
  2. Animal Aid’s Sanctuary not Cruelty campaign encourages people to donate to a sanctuary caring for horses, rather than to have a bet on the Grand National.
  3. Watch our film about Hillside Sanctuary, which rescues horses, including ex-race horses
  4. On 8 April, there will be protests outside Aintree Racecourse in Merseyside and at the offices of the Grand National broadcaster, ITV, in London.


Inspectors visit South Lakes Safari Zoo ahead of fresh licence application

Government inspectors have carried out another visit to assess animal welfare standards at a Cumbrian zoo.

A team of experts appointed by the Home Office spent two days at South Lakes Safari Zoo last week as part of a fresh application for a licence for the attraction from Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd.

The latest inspection represents the first chance for the new company, formed in January, to demonstrate improvements to the site since they took over full responsibility for its day to day management.

The conclusions of the inspection team will be revealed in a report set to be shared with Barrow Council – the body responsible for issuing a zoo licence – in the coming weeks.

Karen Brewer, Cumbria Zoo chief executive, said her team was focused on continuing with the implementation of improvements while they awaited the findings of the inspectors.

Mrs Brewer said: “We had our inspection on Monday and Tuesday last week.


“The process now is that the inspectors will send their report to the council and we will have a certain period of time to respond to it after that.

“In the meantime, the team are continuing to work hard. We are all obviously delighted with the birth of a baby giraffe this week which is fantastic news,” she added.

An inspection of the zoo in January revealed animal welfare standards within an area managed directly by Mr Gill were poor and had resulted in the deaths of a series of exhibits.

A post mortem report also revealed nearly 500 animals died in just four years because of inappropriate animal husbandry and harrowing conditions.

The causes included emaciation, exposure and infighting within overstocked pens.

South Lakes Safari Zoo is operating without a licence after Barrow Borough Council bosses refused to renew the existing permit held in the name of the attraction’s owner, David Gill.

A formal closure notice was also issued by members of BBC’s licencing regulatory committee after they ruled the zoo had failed to comply with a series of direction orders put in place last year.

However, the zoo can remain open for 28 days pending an appeal of the licence refusal by Mr Gill.

The 486 deaths at South Lakes Safari Zoo in Dalton-in-Furness, Cumbria, between January 2013 and September 2016, were detailed in a report prepared by officers at Barrow Borough Council.

:: Three animals died after being run over by a miniature railway train

:: Sixteen animals were attacked and killed by members of their own species

:: A tortoise died after being electrocuted by electric fencing

:: Seven healthy lion cubs and five young baboons were “euthanised” because there was not enough space

:: Mr Gill shot 18 Sacred Ibis birds after he was threatened with prosecution for letting them fly free

:: A giraffe was shot by its keeper after collapsing

:: Two snow leopards were found partially eaten

:: A pair of squirrel monkeys were diagnosed with septicaemia

A zookeeper told the inspection team they had been told “to just dispose of any dead bodies and not tell anyone about them”.

In June 2016, the zoo was also fined £255,000 after one of its employees, Sarah McClay, 24, was killed by a Sumatran tiger in May 2013.

It was also hit with a £42,500 fine when a zookeeper fell from a ladder while preparing to feed big cats in July 2014.

Investigators found animals with varying degrees of ill-health, including a meerkat with visible skin problems, a lemur with a sore and a kangaroo “incredibly emaciated and unwell”.

They also found the penguin pool without any water.

Councillors heard that inspectors had visited in January and were “dismayed by the obvious deficiencies in the accommodation, the overcrowding and the lack of proper welfare and husbandry”.

Details of the deaths of 486 animals showed “a clear picture of poor management with uncontrolled breeding and lack of any programme of preventative and curative veterinary medicine, with resultant ongoing welfare issues for the animals”.

Inspectors concluded: “The lack of senior supervision and management is evident throughout the zoo, including the failures of the local veterinary service, leading to deplorable standards, compromised welfare and deaths.”

Cumbria Zoo Company Ltd, of which Mr Gill is not a director, hopes to secure its own zoo licence from Barrow Borough Council in May.

A petition calling for the permanent closure of South Lakes Safari Zoo now has more than 200,000 signatures.

A counter petition calling for the zoo to be allowed to remain open has attracted 407 supporters.



Government approves legislation to kill bear cubs and wolf pups in their dens – FUCK YOU TRUMP!

Breaking News: The U.S. Senate just voted 52-47: Measure also allows aerial spotting and killing of grizzly bears on national wildlife refuges in Alaska.


The U.S. Senate today used the Congressional Review Act to strip away regulatory safeguards implemented by the Obama administration in 2016 to protect wolves, bears and other predators on national wildlife refuges in Alaska. In a strict, party-line vote, Senate Republicans approved today’s measure, which will allow the unsportsmanlike killing of wolves and their pups in their dens and gunning down of bears at bait stations.

“This isn’t hunting — it’s slaughter,” said Brett Hartl, government affairs director at the Center for Biological Diversity. “Killing wolves and bears in this cruel, unsportsmanlike fashion is outrageous, especially in national wildlife refuges that belong to all Americans. Repealing these protections also undermines the critical role predators play in healthy ecosystems.”

In August 2016 the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service finalized regulations that protected predators from new predator-control tactics approved by Alaska’s Board of Game. Alaska’s predator-control activities are intended solely to artificially inflate prey populations, such as moose, for human hunting.

These tactics include killing black bear cubs or mothers with cubs at den sites; killing brown bears over bait; trapping and killing brown and black bears with steel-jaw leghold traps or wire snares; killing wolves and coyotes during denning season; and killing brown and black bears from aircraft.

The House of Representatives passed Joint Resolution 69 to overturn the rule using the authority under the Congressional Review Act, in a highly partisan vote on Feb. 16. With the Senate’s approval of the Resolution, the measure now goes to President Trump for his signature.

“Senate Republicans have shown just how mean-spirited and petty they are with today’s vote,” Hartl said. “Passing a law to allow baby bears to be killed in their dens should be beneath the dignity of the Senate, but apparently it’s not.”

Now the government is set to overturn previous U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) regulations that were put in place to protect our wildlife, allowing hunters to lure grizzly bears with food to shoot them at point-blank range. They will be able to legally enter bear and wolf dens to kill mothers and their young cubs and pups. Hunters will also be allowed to shoot bears from airplanes. Steel-jawed leghold traps and wire snares will be allowed on these national lands.




Athlone vetinary hospital sponsors Westmeath fox hunters

VIA  Ban Bloodsports

A veterinary hospital in Athlone has sponsored an equestrian event organised by a foxhunt, ICABS has learned.

In a promotional graphic for the “Westmeath Foxhounds Hunter Trials” on March 5th, one of the listed sponsors is “Patrick McGuire (Athlone Vet Hospital)”. The graphic shows foxhunters on horseback alongside a pack of hounds.

In an email to Veterinary Surgeon Patrick McGuire, ICABS asked: “Surely you would agree that, given the animal cruelty inherent in foxhunting, it is entirely inappropriate for a veterinary hospital to sponsor a foxhunt-organised event.”

We outlined the horrendous cruelty of foxhunting in which foxes are chased to exhaustion by a pack of hounds and ripped apart when caught.

The cruelty of the Westmeath hunt is well documented. For example, a 2011 report in the Farmers Journal revealed that sixteen mounted followers of the hunt, along with 29 hounds, found a fox that was caught and “chopped”. Later on, another fox was “overhauled before he managed to put any distance between himself and them”. Both “chopped” and “overhauled” in hunting terminology mean that the fox was caught by the pack of hounds, torn apart and disembowelled.

In 2007, the Irish Independent reported that there was a probe into allegations that during a Westmeath Foxhounds hunt, a rope was tied to the leg of a fox and that it was pulled out of a burrow and fed alive to the dogs.

In 2008, an Irish Field report revealed that the Westmeath Hunt chased a fox into the freezing water of the Royal Canal. And in another report in the Irish Field in 1991, it was reported that a fox was dug out by Westmeath Foxhounds as follows: “Terriers were some time coming as car followers were the wrong side of the wind for hearing. A quick dig followed and two foxes were dispatched. Eamon had a brush for Clarissa and a fox’s tongue which he intends pickling in vinegar to cure warts and draw thorns.”

In February 2015, a disturbing Westmeath Foxhunt video emerged which provided an insight into the deplorable attitude hunters hold towards animals. At the beginning of the video, one of the hunters can be heard calling his horse a c***. In another scene, a female rider whips her horse 5 times in quick succession (forward to 03:00 minute mark).

Witness the cruelty of foxhunting in Ireland at


Urge Patrick McGuire (Athlone Vet Hospital) to stop sponsoring foxhunt-organised events.

Telephone: (090) 6474020

Sign our “Ban Blood Sports in Ireland” petition

Please join us in appealing to the Minister for Agriculture remove an outrageous exemption for foxhunting from Ireland’s Animal Health and Welfare Act.

Michael Creed TD
Minister for Agriculture
Agriculture House,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: 01-607 2000 or LoCall 1890-200510.
Leave a comment on Facebook:
Tweet to: @creedcnw

Contact the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) Enda Kenny and Tanaiste (Deputy Prime Minister) Frances Fitzgerald and urge them to ban fox hunting.

An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny
Department of the Taoiseach,
Upper Merrion Street, Dublin 2
Telephone: 01-6194020
Tweet to: @EndaKennyTD
Leave a comment on Facebook:

An Tanaiste, Frances Fitzgerald
Department Of Justice
51 St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin 2.
Tel: +353 1 602-8202 or +353 1 457 7712
Tweet to: @FitzgeraldFrncs

Appeal to all Irish politicians

Please contact all your local politicians and ask them to push for a ban on this cruel bloodsport. Encourage your friends, family and workmates to contact them too. Visit the Oireachtas website for names of TDs and their email addresses… Write to your TDs at: Dail Eireann, Leinster House, Kildare Street, Dublin 2. Tel: 01-618 3000 or 1890 337 889.

A bull’s 11-inch horn goes inside a bullfighter’s arse!

In a incident during one of the bullfights, a man was severely injured when a bull’s horn pierced his rear side. The 11-inch horn went up his backside, and the man had to be admitted to a hospital with immediate effect.

The painful ordeal took place in Mexico City on Monday, according to New York Post.

It seems hard to believe that in this so-called civilised age, a most vicious and cruel spectacle of blood continues to flourish in Spain and certain other countries. Bullfighting is barbaric and should have been banned long ago, as bear-baiting was. It is difficult to understand how crowds of people will pay money and take pleasure in watching one lone creature – who has never done them any harm — getting hacked to death. How can anyone with an ounce of compassion, cheer and chant olé as a banderilla or lance is thrust into the animal’s pain-racked body?

Bullfighting has a very glorified public image — it is presented as a contest between the brave matador, who boldly risks life and limb to tackle a mad and ferocious beast. The matador is always dressed in a traditional costume of brilliant colours: the bullfight is seen by many as the mysterious ritual between man and beast, which is an integral part of Spanish culture and custom. For this reason, many tourists who visit Spain feel that seeing a bullfight is a necessary part of their holiday, just as tourists visiting Britain go to see the Tower of London.

However, after witnessing the sheer horror of this sickening slaughter, only the most hardened and callous would consider a second visit to the bullring. The purpose of this booklet is to fully explain what the bull has to endure, both during his last hour of life in the ring, and also the other side of the bullfight not commonly known to the vast majority of people: the pre-bullfight treatment.


The bull is not an aggressive animal, and the reason he is angry and attempts to charge at the matador whilst in the bullring is mainly because he has been horrendously abused for the previous two days. In fact, what spectators see is not a normal, healthy bull, but a weakened, half-blinded and mentally destroyed version, whose chances of harming his tormentors is virtually nil. The bull has wet newspapers stuffed into his ears; vaseline is rubbed into his eyes to blur his vision; cotton is stuffed up his nostrils to cut off his respiration and a needle is stuck into his genitals. Also, a strong caustic solution is rubbed onto his legs which throws him off balance. This also keeps him from lying down on the ground. In addition to this, drugs are administered to pep him up or slow him down, and strong laxatives are added to his feed to further incapacitate him. He is kept in a dark box for a couple of days before he faces the ring: the purpose of this is to disorientate him. When he is let out of the box, he runs desperately towards the light at the end of the tunnel. He thinks that at last his suffering is over and he is being set free — instead, he runs into the bullring to face his killers and a jeering mob.


Strictly speaking, a bullfight is composed of 3 separate “acts”, and the whole thing is supposed to last for 20 minutes, though in actual fact it varies. The opening of a bullfight begins with a tune being played on a trumpet — the tune is the special, signa lure Rifle which characterises the beginning of the horror. Upon entering the ring, bulls have been known to collapse through exhaustion alter their pre-fight ordeal — they have been dragged to their feet by the bullfighter’s assistants.

The Picadors

The sequence of events begins when the bull faces the picadors — these are the men on horseback, whose purpose it is to exhaust the bull. They cut into his neck muscles with a pica. This is a weapon of about 6-8 inches long, and 2 inches thick. Once it is thrust into the bull it is twisted round and a large, gaping wound appears. The bull then starts bleeding to death.

The Assistant Matadors

After the picador has finished his sordid business, the assistant matadors then get to work with the banderillas (sharp, harpoon-like barbed instruments). These are plunged into the bull’s body, and he may also be taunted by capes. Up to six banderillas may be used. When the banderillas strike the bull stops in his tracks and bellows madly.

The Kill

A trumpet signals the final “act” — in fact, during the whole nightmare, strange, slow tunes are played throughout. It is, of course, during the final act that the bull is killed (and hopefully goes onto a better life). The kill should last 6 minutes, and is done by the main matador. If he has any difficulties (which is an extremely rare occurrence), the others immediately rush in to his aid and finish off the bull.


The matador is supposed to sever the artery near the heart with one thrust of the sword — in fact, this never happens. It often takes 2-3 times before the creature is mercifully released by death. By this time, the bull’s lungs and heart will be punctured and he always vomits blood. Miraculously, he sometimes attempts to rise again, and gets up on his knees, only to receive further mutilation at the hands of his tormentors. He finally gives up, goes to his knees and lies down. Even then, he is not allowed a little dignity to leave this world in peace, his ears and tail are cut off (often when he is fully conscious), and his broken, bleeding body is dragged around the ring by mules, to which he is attached by an apparatus made of wood and chains. Not content with his suffering, which must be too horrible to describe by words, the crowds boo and jeer him. They even throw empty beer cans at him. His body is then taken away to be skinned, and even then he may not be dead when this happens.


The bull is not the only animal to suffer in the ring — hundreds of horses die long and agonising deaths as they are gored by the pain-crazed bull. Horses have their ears stuffed with wet newspaper, they are blindfolded and their vocal chords are cut so they are unable to scream in pain. It is not an uncommon occurrence for horses to stumble upon their own entrails after being badly gored. After a horse has been wounded it is led out of the ring, given crude surgery, and sent back in. Horses used in bullrings sweat and tremble from fear — they are forced to return to the ring time and time again. The picador’s horses are generally animals whose working life is over, and which are, therefore, old, infirm and docile. Their reward for serving mankind faithfully is to end their days in the bullrings. They are kept in poor conditions between fights, arid, not surprisingly, their life expectancy is short.


“But it’s part of their culture’ is the argument commonly used to defend bullfighting, but this argument is also used to defend female circumcision (genital mutilation). It could also have been used to defend witch-burning, bear-baiting and a multitude of other evils, “Culture” is not a magic word, and simply labeling something as such doesn’t make it right and above criticism. Also, the word “culture” suggests the enhancement and enrichment of people or a society, and watching animals being tortured to death doesn’t fall into this description.

“Get your own house in order” is another argument put forward, with reference to our own bloodsports such as hunting and harecoursing. Well, there is no reason why we can’t support the Spanish Animal Rights movement as well as fighting animal abuse in our own country. An animal doesn’t regard itself as being Spanish when it is being tortured to death — rather it is a member of the anima[ kingdom being tortured to death by humans. The Animal Rights movement is a worldwide one and should not be restricted by boundaries.

As has been mentioned previously, bullrings are largely sustained by tourists who visit out of curiosity and a misguided belief that if they fail to visit this unique part of Spanish culture, their visit to Spain will not be complete.

The vast majority of tourists are appalled by what happens at a bullfight and leave after they see what happens to the first bull (three separate bulls are killed at bullfights, but spectators are not allowed to leave until the first one has ended).

However, the purchase of their ticket keeps the bullrings open.

Spain is a popular holiday destination for British tourists, so for this reason a campaign in this country to educate people about what really happens at bullfights is a necessary and vital step towards closing down the bullrings.

Frank Evans from Manchester who runs a bedroom and kitchen showroom in Eccles called “Ladyline” is a bullfighter who regularly travels to Spain to torture bulls to death. This is another reason why bullfighting is an issue for the British Animal Rights movement.

The Anti-Bullfighting Committee, P.O. Box 175, Liverpool L69 8DX has started a campaign against Evans by demonstrating and leafletting outside his shop and his house. Anyone interested in joining this campaign should contact this address. Also, anyone wishing to express their views on Evans’ activities should write to him at:

19 Monks Hall Grove,
Eccles, Manchester

Also, please write to:

The Spanish Ambassador,
The Spanish Embassy,
24 Belgrave Square,
London SW1

There are now serious moves to have bullfighting banned as Spain is a fairly recent member of the European Economic Community, and has been under severe pressure from campaigning Animal Rights groups.

However the powerful lobby of bullbreeders are intent on evading this. In 1989 33,000 bulls died the death previously described, and this means profit for the bullbreeders.

A boycott of Spanish produce i.e. wine, sherry, fruit and vegetables would help persuade the Spanish Government to outlaw bullfighting.

Also, a boycott of Spanish holidays would be an excellent form of economic pressure as Spain relies heavily on the tourist industry.

The Spanish Green Party has announced its intention to ban bullfighting, if it were elected to Parliament.

In recent years, there has been a sustained press interest in the atrocities involved in bullfighting and fiestas involving animal abuse. This media focus has been not only in Britain but has caused worldwide concern. This has deeply embarrassed the Spanish Government who are under extreme pressure to change their laws. Also, it has made people in general more aware of the cruelties involved in bullfighting and the fiestas, and therefore less likely to visit bullrings.

It is only a matter of time before this abomination has ended, and bulls are allowed to live their lives in peace.


The Cruelty Behind Muslim Halal Ritual Slaughter

Halal meat has been hitting the headlines this week, with revelations that several major UK restaurants, including PizzaExpress and Subway, have been “secretly” selling it to customers.

Here’s the thing: no religion needs to slaughter animals for food. For anyone who’s concerned about animals raised and killed for food, there is only one label that really matters: “vegan”. Yes, people have a right to know what – or who – is in their food, but the simple solution to avoid mystery-meat scandals is to eat plant-based meals, which are kinder to animals and open to all faiths. And it’s so easy to eat with a clear conscience. At PizzaExpress, try ordering the new vegan Pianta pizza, or at Subway, try the Veggie Delite.

Don’t get us wrong, as long as animals are still killed for food, stopping the most inhumane slaughter methods – in which cows and other animals have their throats cut while they’re still conscious – would be a step in the right direction, but even in conventional abattoirs, millions of animals are improperly stunned in the UK every year and face the fatal incision awake, alert and terrified.



And let’s not forget that the actual slaughter, whether the animal is stunned and killed or just killed, is only part of the long and blatantly cruel process of modern meat production. At the “best” of times, meat is a product of a bloody and violent industry with no respect for other living beings who value their lives in the same way that we do and experience the same pain and terror that we would if we were killed for a sandwich or a pizza topping.

Chickens are mutilated by having the sensitive ends of their beaks cut off – without painkillers. Pigs are castrated – also without painkillers. Animals may be kept in darkened sheds for their entire lives and never see the sun or confined to cages so small that they can barely turn around. They have their beloved babies taken away from them when they are just days or even hours old. And on their journey to slaughter, they will be crammed into dirty lorries on a punishing journey that can last for days, often with inadequate food or water, before reaching their final destination – all of which directly contradicts the basic principles of compassion and reverence for life shared by most religions.


British chains with halal offerings

These Companies Test on Animals, Never Buy These Brands

Cosmetics and Haircare

  • Avon
  • Bobbi Brown
  • Covergirl
  • Estée Lauder
  • Head & Shoulders
  • L’Oréal
  • M.A.C. Cosmetics
  • Mary Kay
  • Maybelline
  • Pantene
  • Revlon
  • TRESemmé

Self-Care Products

  • Almay
  • Aquafresh
  • Aveeno
  • Caress
  • ChapStick
  • Clean & Clear
  • Coppertone
  • Dove
  • Johnson & Johnson
  • Kiehl’s
  • Listerine
  • Nivea
  • Old Spice
  • Pampers
  • Secret
  • St. Ives
  • Vaseline 
  • Vicks

Household Products

  • Arm & Hammer
  • Clorox
  • Comet
  • Febreze
  • Glade 
  • Lysol
  • Tide
  • Windex