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Grand National 2023: Hundreds of animal activists stop the race at Aintree

Grand National 2023: Hundreds of animal activists stop the race at Aintree

Animal Rising activists plan to climb the fences and onto the track at Aintree Racecourse before the start of the Grand National race on Saturday.

The climate and animal rights group said up to 300 activists will be present at the site from 9:30 a.m. where they intend to stop the race from starting.

They will also block traffic by making a slow march along Ormskirk Road, the main access road.

Spokesman Nathan McGovern said: “We plan periodically to cut off Ormskirk, the road to the front of the racecourse, to prevent entry to the venue throughout the day.

“The group of people at the front will attempt to drive peacefully over the perimeter fences/walls at the front of Aintree prior to the start of the Grand National with the intention of entering the circuit.

“And all this before the start of the race. We will not enter the track if there are horses and jockeys walking.”

Merseyside Police said they had a “strong policing plan in place” and were working with Aintree’s owners, the Jockey Club, in preparing for any incidents.

A horse has already died at the Grand National Festival — Envoye Special, ridden by James King — after falling into a Foxhunters chase shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday.

He is the 60th horse to die at Aintree in the past 23 years.

Animal Rising, which changed its name from Animal Rebellion on Monday to move away from the Extinction Rebellion umbrella, wants to use the biggest event on the UK horse racing calendar to highlight the “broken relationship” between humans and animals.

“It’s a spotlight we really need to use to lead a national conversation about our broken relationship, not just with horses, but with all the animals we use, whether it’s for food, recreation, entertainment, dogs or horse racing,” said McGovern.

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“It’s more about acknowledging that, in a nation of animal lovers, we don’t really live up to those values ​​through our actions.”

Animal Rising’s plans for the Grand National first became public when an undercover reporter for the Mail on Sunday attended a meeting earlier this month.

They said the activists planned to use ladders and pliers to cross the fence surrounding Aintree.

A Merseyside Police spokesperson said: “Merseyside Police have a strong policing plan in place at Aintree, as they do at any large public event, to ensure the safety and well-being of all involved.

“We have been working with our partners, including the Jockey Club, for several months in the run-up to this year’s festival to ensure that all necessary plans and processes are in place to deal with any incidents that may arise and to prevent any major incidents or continued disruption to attendees, races, local residents and businesses.

“We respect the right to peaceful protest and expression of opinion, but public order or criminal offenses will not be tolerated and will be dealt with firmly.”

A spokesperson for Aintree Racecourse said: “We respect the right to peaceful protest, but we sincerely hope Animal Rising will consider whether its proposed actions are legitimate and responsible.

Their actions could endanger the horses they intend to protect, as well as the riders, staff and themselves.

“As you would expect, we are working closely with Merseyside Police to ensure the safety and security of everyone, including all participants, human or equine, at the Grand National.”

A British Horseracing Authority spokesperson said: “While we respect the rights of anyone to demonstrate safely and legally, we condemn any illegal action, particularly if it jeopardizes the safety of horses, jockeys, officials or fans.”

Animal Rising activists plan to climb the fences and onto the track at Aintree Racecourse before the start of the Grand National race on Saturday.

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The climate and animal rights group said up to 300 activists will be present at the site from 9:30 a.m. where they intend to stop the race from starting.

They will also block traffic by making a slow march along Ormskirk Road, the main access road.

Spokesman Nathan McGovern said: “We plan periodically to cut off Ormskirk, the road to the front of the racecourse, to prevent entry to the venue throughout the day.

“The group of people at the front will attempt to drive peacefully over the perimeter fences/walls at the front of Aintree prior to the start of the Grand National with the intention of entering the circuit.

“And all this before the start of the race. We will not enter the track if there are horses and jockeys walking.”

Merseyside Police said they had a “strong policing plan in place” and were working with Aintree’s owners, the Jockey Club, in preparing for any incidents.

A horse has already died at the Grand National Festival — Envoye Special, ridden by James King — after falling into a Foxhunters chase shortly after 4 p.m. Thursday.

He is the 60th horse to die at Aintree in the past 23 years.

Animal Rising, which changed its name from Animal Rebellion on Monday to move away from the Extinction Rebellion umbrella, wants to use the biggest event on the UK horse racing calendar to highlight the “broken relationship” between humans and animals.

“It’s a spotlight we really need to use to lead a national conversation about our broken relationship, not just with horses, but with all the animals we use, whether it’s for food, recreation, entertainment, dogs or horse racing,” said McGovern.

“It’s more about acknowledging that, in a nation of animal lovers, we don’t really live up to those values ​​through our actions.”

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Animal Rising’s plans for the Grand National first became public when an undercover reporter for the Mail on Sunday attended a meeting earlier this month.

They said the activists planned to use ladders and pliers to cross the fence surrounding Aintree.

A Merseyside Police spokesperson said: “Merseyside Police have a strong policing plan in place at Aintree, as they do at any large public event, to ensure the safety and well-being of all involved.

“We have been working with our partners, including the Jockey Club, for several months in the run-up to this year’s festival to ensure that all necessary plans and processes are in place to deal with any incidents that may arise and to prevent any major incidents or continued disruption to attendees, races, local residents and businesses.

“We respect the right to peaceful protest and expression of opinion, but public order or criminal offenses will not be tolerated and will be dealt with firmly.”

A spokesperson for Aintree Racecourse said: “We respect the right to peaceful protest, but we sincerely hope Animal Rising will consider whether its proposed actions are legitimate and responsible.

Their actions could endanger the horses they intend to protect, as well as the riders, staff and themselves.

“As you would expect, we are working closely with Merseyside Police to ensure the safety and security of everyone, including all participants, human or equine, at the Grand National.”

A British Horseracing Authority spokesperson said: “While we respect the rights of anyone to demonstrate safely and lawfully, we condemn any illegal action, particularly if it jeopardizes the safety of horses, jockeys, officials or fans.”