Five animal rights activists were charged by South Yorkshire Police, England, with intentionally or recklessly causing public nuisance at Doncaster racecourse. Police were called at around 7:40 pm after reports of people on the course ahead of the 19:55 BST race on Saturday, 6th May 2022. Three of the protesters managed to sit down in the middle of the racecourse, which caused a 14-minute delay in the race before they were removed by security and arrested by the police. All five appeared at Doncaster Magistrates’ Court on 8th May, and they were bailed until a further hearing scheduled to take place at Sheffield Crown Court on 5th June.
Those charged are Zara Verryt from Sheffield, Johanna Grace from Sheffield, Sarah Foy, from Alfreton, Derbyshire, Joshua Lane also from Alfreton, and Thomas Foy from Ripley, Derbyshire. They were wearing pink T-shirts from the animal rights organisation Animal Rising, which is a new name from the Animal Rebellion group, an offshoot of Extinction Rebellion focusing more on the animal exploitation component of the current environmental crisis. It seems that the new branding has moved the group even closer to the animal rights arena.
The protest was the latest of disruptions at horse racing events, which started with the famous Grand National in Aintree, England, when a large group of more than 100 activists attempted to break into the racecourse to stop the race and followed with a similar protest in the Scottish Grand National in Ayr, Scotland. Police arrested 118 activists in the former and 24 activists in the latter.
The website Horsedeathwatch run by the animal rights group Animal Aid states that 2611 horse deaths have occurred in the 5906 days since the start of the Race Horse Death Watch campaign, on 13th March 2007.