You may disagree with me, but I think we live in an increasingly precarious society. From the recent riotous environmental protests coordinated by Extinction Rebellion to the current worrying anti-meat campaign known as “Veganuary”, some people’s views are becoming more left-wing and extreme.
A recent trip to Leicester races did nothing to diminish my view when we were greeted by a small but vocal group of protestors objecting to horse racing. Waving placards with slogans such as “you bet, horses die”, they were an unsavoury start to what was otherwise an enjoyable day’s sport.
Campaigns against racing — like in hunting — are nothing new, and organisations are proactively fundraising to object. It was not long ago that Animal Aid ran advertisements on London buses, in an attempt to get the whip banned in racing. My growing concern is the lengths that people are now prepared to go in order to express their opinions — often with blatant disregard of the law.
‘Fuel to the flames’
The communication platform that is social media is the proverbial fuel to the flames. So often a tool used to share positive messages and experiences, it can be equally — or more so — negative. It is also now the preferred method by which protests are coordinated and extremism is publicised.
One thing is for sure, racing, hunting, farming and other country pursuits need to pull together and show solidarity to overcome the objectionable challenges that stand before us. Those who care to take time to understand racing will know that the horse really is the focal point of what we do. Invariably loved by the owner, trainer, groom and jockey in equal measure, they are finely tuned athletes. Without being given the utmost care, they simply would not be able to do what we ask of them.
Ref Horse & Hound; 23 January 2020