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Cheltenham Festival Protesters Ask For Kinder Animal Treatment

With the 2023 Cheltenham festival getting underway today, nearly 300,000 people are expected to travel to Gloucestershire for an action packed week of horse racing.

The Cheltenham festival always appears in a positive light, with lucky punters posing with their huge wins, people dressing up in their finest clothing and old friends sharing a Guinness at the crack of dawn.

However, the side that is not so commonly covered in the media is the horses that don’t make it out of the festival.

According to Animal Aid, since the year 2000, 73 horses have died whilst running the Cheltenham festival, with the worst year for fatalities being 2006, when 11 horses lost their lives.

As a result of this, many people are starting to speak out about the treatment of horses when it comes to these bi events, and in Cheltenham, the Gloucestershire Outreach Advocacy Team (GOAT) have begun protests on the high street to raise awareness.

“We’re trying to raise awareness, mainly to the betting public, on the cruelty of horse racing.”

Said one protester, who wishes to be known simply by his first name, Gordy.

“We see all the glamor and the glitz, even the media and the TV are making a big deal of how amazing it is here, and people are having fun but we don’t look behind and see the victims of the horse racing”

The Cheltenham festival is a huge earner for the town of Cheltenham, raking in £274 million from the 2022 festival, however, Gordy does not believe such an amount of money is justifiable for the tragedies that continue to occur.

“Life is priceless, it doesn’t matter who you are, whether you’re human or animal, life is priceless.

“If someone died in car racing, we couldn’t call it collateral damage, would we?”

Whilst the immense crowd that flock to Cheltenham all see the sport as a great deal of fun, the members of GOAT feel that we should not rely on animals to provide this for us through sport.

“We shouldn’t be using animals for entertainment anyway, we shouldn’t have to do this, we shouldn’t have circuses!

“We could have an athletics track and bet on people running around, that’d bring money into the town if we really wanted that sort of thing. There’s a million different ways that we could entertain people!”

GOAT will continue their protests and look to change the opinions of even more racing fans on Friday 17th March, the day of the biggest prize of the Cheltenham festival, the Gold Cup

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