SIR – With the Grand National hype about to begin, now is a good time to remember the disgust that most people felt after last year’s race.

As well as the sickening deaths of Ornais and Dooneys Gate, television viewers witnessed winner Ballabriggs being thrashed to the line. Buckets of water had to be thrown over him and other exhausted horses at the end of the race.

Last year’s horror show was nothing new – 35 horses have died at the three-day Aintree meeting since 2000.

Animal Aid is also inviting people to do something positive for horse welfare. Rather than having that flutter, why not donate the money to our two specially-selected sanctuaries, both of which are desperate for funds to rescue horses in need?

Or, if you hold a sweepstake at work, please try to persuade your colleagues to raise much-needed money for rescued animals instead. The neglect and slaughter of many ex-racehorses for meat is one of the industry's darkest secrets.

To order a free information pack, or for more details about our Sanctuary Not Cruelty initiative, please visit Animal Aid’s website or contact us at the address below.

Fiona Pereira, Animal Aid campaigner, The Old Chapel, Bradford Street, Tonbridge TN9 1AW