Monday 19 March 2012 by Spacey

Channel 4 wins rights to feign sadness when horses are destroyed


Channel 4 has secured a four-year deal to broadcast people pretending to be sad when horses they claim to love are destroyed as a result of exhaustion or broken legs.

The deal means Channel 4 will be the exclusive broadcaster of British horse cruelty on terrestrial television.

BBC director of sport Barbara Slater said, “We are of course disappointed that we have lost the rights, but we are pleased that people expressing their fake sorrow remains free to air.”

This year’s main phoney tears event, the Grand National on 14 April, will be screened on the BBC.

“Our coverage of this year’s equine equivalent of a demolition derby will mark the end of a partnership that extends over 50 years,” Slater added.

“Over those many years we have consistently improved and enhanced our coverage, which despite the deaths of a number of horses, has been hugely enjoyed by people like that sort of thing,” she said.

Grand National

Slater said the BBC was “very proud” of its role in ensuring harrowing moments in leg-breaking and heart-failure had reached the “widest possible audience”.

Jamie Aitchison, Channel 4 sports editor, said: “We are confident that our coverage will allow viewers to experience the temporary sadness of a horse dying with the thrill of realising that they’ll get back any money they bet on it.”

“Admittedly, if you could communicate to a horse that the race they are about to run in may end up with their heart exploding or their legs breaking then they might not be that keen.”

“Fortunately it can’t be communicated, but horses can prick their ears up, which as far as we’re concerned means they love it, so sod ’em.”

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