You've got to love killing horses, haven't you? It would certainly seem so today. Yes, the Grand National is upon us once again.
A day when Britain displays extraordinary moral flexibility in exchange for a flutter and the chance to bounce up and down on the sofa, screaming "C'mon!" at the television.
If Clare Balding was presenting a BBC 1 special on live cock-fighting from Mansfield there would be an outcry. But today, she'll be at Aintree racecourse, introducing coverage of the 165th staging of the world's most famous steeplechase.
Sure, the point of the race isn't to kill horses -- but that is often the outcome. Ornais and Dooneys Gate were both fatally injured during last year's Grand National. For good measure, two more horses -- Minella Four Star and Regal Heights -- died during the Scottish Grand National at Ayr racecourse the following week.
Research by Animal Aid suggests around 420 horses are raced to death every year. The detailed statistics make sobering reading.
After last year's Grand National, the director of Animal Aid, Andrew Tyler, said: "The public has been conned into believing that the Grand National is a great sporting spectacle when, in reality, it is straightforward animal abuse that is on a par with Spanish bullfighting.
"This race should have no future in a civilised country. The BBC deserves special condemnation for all but concealing news of the deaths."
It's hard to disagree -- unless of course you think a few dead and injured horses is a price worth paying for a day at the races.
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