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I'M AN ANIMAL LOVER LIKE ANYONE ELSE, BUT RUBY STILL GOT IT RIGHT

JOCKEY Ruby Walsh has been subjected to death threats for comments he made about the putting down of a horse at Cheltenham.

Like all animal lovers, I deplore the loss of a noble beast, like a champion racehorse. And I'm sure Walsh does too. Commenting on the death of horse Our Conor, the jockey said: "You can replace a horse. It's sad, but horses are animals, outside your back door. Humans are humans, they are inside your back door."

Walsh's basic point was that the death of an animal simply cannot be equated with the death of a human being.

His comments were eminently sensible and sound, spoken by a man who knows more about horses than 99.9pc of people.

I couldn't agree more with them. Nonetheless, Walsh's comments led to predictable criticism from animal rights activists, who made, among other calls, demands to ban horse-racing outright.

Such a response is nonsense. There is an element of risk to life and limb in almost all sports, yet we rarely hear of calls to ban soccer, rugby or Formula 1 racing.

Racehorses have been bred for centuries to race and jump. It is in their blood and their DNA.

When an incident like the one which befell Our Conor occurs, jockeys, owners and indeed, the punters themselves are hugely affected by it.

Horses are replaceable, human beings are not. People need to realise this.

Fair play to Ruby Walsh for pointing it out.


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