Walsh sparks anger over horse death

Published Wednesday, 12 March 2014
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Irish jockey Ruby Walsh has prompted an angry reaction from animal activists with comments he made about the death of a horse in a race during the opening day of the Cheltenham Festival.

Walsh sparks anger over horse death
Our Conor (right), pictured shortly before a fatal fall at Cheltenham. (© Getty)

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Our Conor, owned by Barry Connell and trained by Dessie Hughes, fell in the Champion Hurdle on Tuesday afternoon.

The horse was examined by vets, but was found to be so badly injured that putting it down was considered the only humane option.

Ruby Walsh, who finished the race fourth on Hurricane Fly, has been widely reported as stating afterwards: "Horses are horses. You can replace a horse.

"It's sad, but horses are animals - outside your back door. Humans are humans - they are inside your back door. You can replace a horse. You can't replace a human being."

Animal rights activists have hit out at the comments as callous.

Walsh's comments expose the true emotion behind horse racing - greed.

Ingrid E Newkirk, PETA

The founder of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), Ingrid E Newkirk, has called for an apology from the 34-year-old jockey from Co Kildare.

"Horses are treated like wind-up toys, their fragile limbs pushed to and sometimes beyond the breaking point, and are overworked to the detriment of their health by the inherently cruel and greedy racing business where money is king," she said.

"Every year, hundreds of horses come a cropper and die on British racetracks, only to be casually discarded. Thousands more are turned into dog food when they stop winning."

She added that the comments were "deeply offensive to anyone who has ever loved and lost a horse or other beloved animal companion".

According to the British Horseracing Authority, Our Conor received extensive treatment from the festivals team of veterinary surgeons.

"As is the protocol in such circumstances, there will be a post-mortem to establish the clinical nature of the injury incurred by Our Conor," a spokesman said.

Two more horses, Akdam and Stack The Deck, had to be put down on Wednesday after suffering injuries during the second day of racing at Cheltenham.

© UTV News
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5 Comments
toot in lisburn wrote (226 days ago):
did you guys actually hear the full interview on talksport or are you reacting to what he was "reported to have said " a brief summary of his statement is as follows ..he said losing a horse is like losing a cherished pet..its painful and sad but at the end of the day its not as if you are losing a son,daughter, brother ..i thought he got his point across well. if it wasnt for the Racing Industry these animals would not exist ..
tarzan in swinging about wrote (226 days ago):
and to think only a few months back we were eating the poor horses !
Ban this horrible so-called 'sport' in Bangor wrote (227 days ago):
What an attitude and what a cruel evil thing to say! How anyone can call horse racing a 'sport' when the horses are pushed way beyond their limits is beyond me! To say a horse can be replaced is despicable and shows there is no feeling whatsoever for the poor animals! Time this type of 'sport' was banned! Also time for Ruby Walsh to apologise to all animal loving people.
Rab in Belfast wrote (227 days ago):
Bad judgement walsh ol mccoy broke his heart when his horse had to get put down at the national....and he wasn't crying over money lost he was crying over the ol horse!
Jo in Belfast wrote (227 days ago):
I have ignored my inner voice telling me that horse racing is all wrong for many years. The callous indifference of Walsh does indeed reveal the disgusting exploitation that supports this activity. Ingrid on behalf of PETA has elequently expressed the truth that I will no longer ignore - never even another little flutter on Grand Nat day - it's just not fun. Added to all her comments is the fact that the horse is a social herd animal - we make it endure a life of solitude in a stable - so very wrong.
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