"Grimmy in particular seems to think that these deaths are less blameworthy because they are accidents rather than the result of deliberate or reckless behaviour; a view that I find bizarre. Deliberately sending a horse round a course that has killed many horses before sounds very reckless to me."
I draw a very definite distinction, TheSnail, between bashing a horse over the head with a crowbar (which I have personally witnessed at Appleby) and sending a horse around a course where it may be injured or killed. I condemn both acts, but I know which is worse, because there is a mental process involved too.
And actually guys, YES - I CAN just talk about animal cruelty at Appleby here, because THAT'S WHAT THE THREAD IS ABOUT. Feel free to take Dick's advice and start another thread if you want to (especially if you've never actually been to Appleby). I will be happy to contribute to it and would support you in your condemnation of cruelty wherever it exists, including a ban on horse racing.
You may have your 'suspicions', TheSnail. So do I. Whenever the word 'tradition' crops up a certain group of people start to circle the wagons and a 'don't mention the war' mentality creeps in.
As soon as I started to document illegal and cruel practises going on at Appleby we had the 'oh, it's a one-off', 'it's out of proportion', 'it's not as bad as ......' and of course, when all else fails, 'this is racism' (doesn't that word just slip out so easily?).
Let me make my position crystal clear:
There have been repeated incidents of extreme animal cruelty year on year at Appleby Horse Fair.
These incidents have been largely ignored, hushed up or 'undetected' by the authorities.
This is unacceptable and must cease.
The fact that these incidents have been perpetrated by travellers, or taken place as part of a tradition, is an immense irrelevance.
I want Appleby Horse Fair to continue.