Horses die at top racing event
Two horses have died at the Scottish Grand National - a week after two others were killed at Aintree.
Regal Heights and Minella Four Star collapsed at the end of the four mile event at Ayr.
It comes in the wake of last Saturday's Grand National at Aintree - the highest profile event in the racing calendar - where two horses died after falling at fences.
Animal Aid called for better regulation of such horse races.
Dene Stansall, horse racing consultant for the animal rights group said: "Horses can't control their thermo dynamics like we can, they don't lose heat easily like we do. This is a problem. To get two in one day at Ayr should ring alarm bells.
"Our main concern is it is very similar to the Grand National in Britain because of the long distance, a lot of fences and a lot of runners. There's big prize money so everyone is going out to win. The demands on the race horses are probably too great, far greater than what they can cope with.
"The problem lies with the the British Horseracing Authority who regulate the welfare of race horses. What we are saying is that they are not fit for purpose. It needs to be given to an independent body that understands horse racing and can focus on welfare. We would like to see the role of welfare taken out of their hands."
At Aintree last week Ornais fell at the fourth fence and Dooneys Gate fell at the sixth, Becher's Brook. Just 19 of the 40 starters finished the race. Those two deaths prompted campaigners to call for an end to the historic race, with some describing it as little more than animal cruelty on the same level as "bullfighting".
Of today's fatalities Paul Struthers, head of communications at the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), said: "Animal Aid are an organisation entirely opposed to horse racing, not just jump racing. The fact that they are using the deaths of two horses as an attack against the BHA demonstrates that they are only interested in one thing and don't themselves care about the welfare of racehorses, just the banning of the sport."
The Scottish Grand National was won by Cheltenham Festival runner-up Beshabar.