Monday, 11 April 2011

Sport, Greed and Dead Horses

I have just received this email from one of our Sangha members..........

I am feeling very un-Buddhist today for which I make no apology. I am full of rage, disgust, sorrow, pity and despair. Yesterday was one of the days in the year that I hate the most. The Grand National.

On the BBC website there is a picture of the exultant winner and much praising and one has to look in the very small print to discover that two horses were fatally injured. The third and fourth so far this year there having been two fatalities at Cheltenham already.

I imagine those poor innocent creatures greeting the early morning sun and having what will be their last munch of grass. They so willingly go to their deaths. And for what? Greed. (I of course can reason on the unskillfulness or delusion of their owners, riders, punters but that will not help the horses).

What must their last minutes be like? As they fall, uncomprehending as to what has happened to them they hear still the tumult around them and then see only the screens being put round them and finally the friendly bullet that ends them. No dignity there. No compassion.

In the last twenty years in Formula One marvellous advances have been made in safety for the drivers. Quite right too. In the same period of time, the only improvements made in steeple-chasing at Cheltenham and Aintree have been two minor adjustments to fences. I begin to suspect the unspoken reason is that now that it is such a television spectator sport in close up, it is more 'exciting' if there is a likelihood of an animal dying. Or indeed a jockey, but the odds are much more in favour of the horse being injured. Two main animal charities have worked tirelessly over the years and hold vigils at Aintree, Cheltenham and at every BBC centre which may be thought pointless as no changes are made. But maybe, just maybe, something penetrates the minds of the unskillful, the uncaring, the deluded.

I am sorry to have gone on so long but you will realise I feel deeply about this. If you share my concern in any way, perhaps you might find a little time to write a letter - to whom? A newspaper, politician, sports minister, Aintree anyone really, William Hill or even tell friends who had a flutter on the race that their money helps perpetuate this barbarity. Who was it that said "for evil to triumph it is only necessary for good men to do nothing".

As John Ebdon used to say on the radio, "if you have been; thanks for listening".

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