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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Jeremy Armstrong

100 eco activists and 'militant vegans' plan to storm fences and sabotage Grand National

Security is set to be stepped up at the Grand National after 100 eco activists and 'militant vegans' planned to sabotage the event.

The animal rights campaigners intended to use ladders and bolt cutters to storm security fences before the race at Aintree on April 15. They were then planning to glue themselves together as a human barricade and sit across the course.

The conspiracy was revealed by an undercover reporter secretly filming the Animal Rebellion campaign group, reports the Mail on Sunday.

A woman can be heard saying: "Basically the kick-off action for this whole campaign is going to be at the Grand National. The biggest horse race in the world. We have 600m people viewing this horse race worldwide, we've got £300m of bets on the horse race and we're just going to ruin it."

The activists simulated charging at security guards and boasting they would 'ruin' this year's event. In another clip, a female talks about the plan, saying: "There are like 100 of you now at the fence.

"You get the ladders out. Put them up against the fence and you're the first one over. You start climbing that fence and you see security on the other side. You don't care. You know you're doing the right thing."

They then planned to glue themselves to the course. Animal Rebellion member Rose Patterson warned that they were still planning 'the biggest campaign to protect animals and the climate this country has ever seen' this month.

"One undercover reporter is not going to stop teachers, nurses, and more from acting for all life and really beginning the crucial conversation about our broken relationship with other animals," she added.

"This conversation is vital if we are to tackle the root causes of our climate and ecological crises." She described the Grand National as "symbolic of this broken relationship".

Animal Rebellion activists protest in Trafalgar Square (Getty)

"Since 2000, this event alone has killed 40 animals," she said. "Most people would say they love animals, so why are we okay with this?

"Whether it is for food or for sport, our relationship with animals is beyond broken." More than 100 had signed up to the plot. Some intended to use ladders to scale Aintree's security fence, while others were lined up to cut holes in fences using bolt cutters.

Once on the racecourse, a human barrier was going to block the course. Merseyside Police stressed that they had a robust policing plan in place for Aintree.

A spokesman said: "We have been working with our partners, including The Jockey Club, to ensure that any necessary plans and processes are in place to deal with any incidents that may arise and to prevent any significant or ongoing disruption.

"We respect the right to peaceful protest and expression of views, but public order or criminal offences will not be tolerated and will be dealt with robustly."

The Jockey Club declined to comment on matters of security. The plot echoed the so-called 'Race that Never Was' in 1993, when 15 animal rights protesters stormed the course near the first fence and delayed the start by eight minutes.

It was then declared void after two false starts. Four years later, the race was postponed for two days after an IRA bomb threat led to the course being evacuated. The activists warned that they intended to target other horse races this summer. The first Royal Ascot of King Charles's reign is in June.

Animal Rebellion, born of the militant environmental protest group Extinction Rebellion, was founded in 2019 and wants all animal farming and fishing banned. It also wants to end horse racing, branding it 'animal abuse'.

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