Published Wednesday, 12 March 2014
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.
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