Courts convicted 20 animal rights activists on Friday for disrupting the Scottish Grand National. The group said it wanted to highlight the cruelty of the horse racing industry – and stated that the convictions show our “actions do not align with our beliefs” as a nation of animal lovers.
Animal Rising members in court
Animal Rising said that courts had found 20 people guilty of disrupting the Scottish Grand National:
20 people found guilty after disrupting the Scottish Grand National
We dream of a world where every animal can run free, not for our entertainment, but because they choose to. Every being deserves a life free of abuse, exploitation and unnecessary suffering. That is the vision… pic.twitter.com/T0mNeLMQrR
— Animal Rising (@AnimalRising) September 16, 2023
On 22 April, 25 members of Animal Rising made their way onto Ayr Racecourse to disrupt the Scottish Grand National. It came after an earlier race on the same day caused the death of a horse named Oscar Elite. However, the action only delayed the race by three minutes. Police later charged 24 people.
The group said courts ultimately convicted 20 people across seven trials, which have taken place over recent weeks. The first of these was the conviction of Sarah Foy and Osian Dixon on 4 September for breaching the peace. Dixon also faced a further charge of trespass.
Dixon told the court during his trial that:
I wanted to get on the track to stop the race from happening to save these horses, and to raise awareness of the public and anyone who might read the news about the exploitation inherent to this industry.
Animal Rising told the Canary that the other penalties faced by convicted activists are fines ranging between £180 and £250, plus costs.
According to Animal Aid’s Race Horse Death Watch, 49 horses have died as a result of racing at Ayr Racecourse since 2007. The database also shows that deaths were preceded by injuries including broken bones and apparent heart attacks.
‘We will continue to stand up’
Responding to the convictions, Animal Rising said:
We dream of a world where every animal can run free, not for our entertainment, but because they choose to. Every being deserves a life free of abuse, exploitation and unnecessary suffering. That is the vision that drives our actions.
we will not stop protecting animals from needless suffering, and we will continue to stand up FOR ALL LIFE.
Four people are still waiting to stand trial. The court will hear their cases in October.
Animal Aid, an animal rights organisation that has long campaigned for an end to the horse racing, has previously exposed cruelty in the industry during a Panorama documentary. They included slaughterhouse workers killing horses in front of each other and shooting horses and leaving them to die. The group also said up to 75% horses used for racing suffer bleeding lungs, that the industry practices intensive breeding, and the standard practice of whipping is cruel and unnecessary.
Animal Rising also published its own summary of the horse racing industry, including details of ‘wind surgery’ that surgically removes vocal cords for better breathing while running.
Featured image courtesy of Animal Rising