Protect Horses, Cancel The Epsom Derby: Animal Rising Reach Out To Jockey Club
On 29/5/23, Dan Kidby and Kerri Waters reached out to the Jockey Club ahead of The Epsom Derby Festival. An email sent to representatives of the organisation calls on them to cancel the race amidst severe concerns for the safety of horses.
The email references a conversation with Simon Knapp, the racecourse’s senior veterinarian, and the serious impact that delays to a race could have - if the Jockey Club push ahead with running. In a witness statement provided to the High Court, Mr Knapp states similarly .
Given this, Animal Rising is calling on the Jockey Club to cancel the Epsom Derby Festival and safeguard horses from distress that the, already unacceptable, risks associated with horseracing do. If disruption is caused, the group says, the Jockey Club cannot allow any race to run.
Mr Knapp’s witness statement also references the risks of “loud noises, flashes, large banners and smoke devices.” Animal Rising highlights that this did not stop the reckless use of fireworks before the 2022 Epsom Derby  . Animal Rising claims this is a clear contradiction of the Jockey Club’s claims to prioritise the safety of the horses.
In an attempt to continue productive dialogue with the Jockey Club and work for the safety of horses and jockeys, Animal Rising has called for the cancellation of the Epsom Derby Festival.
FULL EMAIL TEXT BELOW
I hope you are all doing well today.
I wanted to write and say to you that I understand your decision to apply for an injunction and I show no personal ill will to any of you for making that decision.
I am, however, dismayed that the legal system allows companies to apply for injunctions to prevent nonviolent protest. I stand by what I said in my interviews that injunctions are a way for wealthy companies to buy their own private laws which deny people their right to a jury trial. And, in the words of Saint Augustine, an unjust law is not a law.
Having said this, I do understand and respect the fact that you will do whatever is legally within your power to stop Animal Rising from disrupting so you can continue on with horse racing.
I do feel it is important to tell you that Animal Rising still has the intention to protect horses and continue the national conversation we started at the Grand National by attempting to stop the races at the Epsom Derby from going ahead. To prevent harm to humans or animals, I can confirm that any disruption will only occur between races, and not when any horses are on the tracks.
We are very conscious that Simon Knapp, Epsom's vet, has told us that any disruption at Epsom may add to the already unacceptable level of risk built into horse racing. Considering that you have full and advanced warning of this disruption, I implore you and your veterinary professionals to not put horses in harm's way and to cancel the races. The only people who can make the decision to not put horses in harm's way are yourselves, their lives are in your hands, and please act with their best interests at heart.
I would like to thank you again for engaging in open, honest and respectful dialogue with Kerri and me. We are keen to continue speaking with you as we move into the future.
Animal Rising is a social movement to create a new relationship with all beings and give us a chance for a safe ecological future. The group primarily calls for the transition to a secure and sustainable plant-based food system, alongside a mass rewilding programme.
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