'One thousand' animal protesters plan to halt races at Epsom Derby - weeks after causing chaos at the Grand National

2 May 2023, 10:56 | Updated: 2 May 2023, 13:05

Animal Rising said it would aim to prevent races from running at this year's Epsom Derby
Animal Rising said it would aim to prevent races from running at this year's Epsom Derby. Picture: Animal Rising/Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Animal Rising protestors have revealed they are planning to cause chaos at Epsom Derby - just weeks after protestors tried to jump onto the racetrack at the Grand National.

Animal Rising said it has informed the Jockey Club and the British Horseracing Authority that it will aim to prevent races from running.

The group says as many as one thousand protestors could be involved in disrupting the Epsom Derby on June 3.

It will come just weeks after Animal Rising attempted to disrupt the Grand National, where more than 100 protestors were arrested.

They also targeted the Scottish Grand National, where several protestors climbed over fences and onto the racetrack.

Protestors gather outside the Grand National in April
Protestors gather outside the Grand National in April. Picture: Animal Rising
Police restrain Animal Rising protestor outside Grand National
Police restrain Animal Rising protestor outside Grand National. Picture: Animal Rising

It will not be the first time the group - formerly known as Animal Rebellion - will have targeted the popular horse-racing event after protestors attempted to cause disruption in 2022.

A spokesperson for Animal Rising Orla Coghlan said: "At the Grand National, when we aimed to put ourselves between horses and harm in the race, Animal Rising created a massive discussion about our fractured connection to other animals.

"The following Monday saw YouGov findings report that 54% of us find the race cruel, a clear voice of public opinion.

"Last year we took action at The Epsom Derby, and this year will see us return in far greater numbers.

"The way we treat horses as just animals to be used on racetracks symbolises the massive disconnect we have with all other life.

"Healing this disconnect is at the core of building a better world and tackling the climate and nature crises.'

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Animal Rising's plans to disrupt a number of high-profile events have been described as a 'summer of chaos', with the group saying it presents "an unmissable opportunity to shine a spotlight on our treatment of animals".

The group could also target the Royal Ascot from June 20 to June 24, in addition to the Epsom Derby.

Following a weekend of mayhem at the Grand National, the group tweeted: "This week has been just the beginning of Animal Rising, it's all up from here.

"This summer is going to be an unmissable opportunity to shine a spotlight on our treatment of animals, our relationship to nature and the world around us, and to start talking about how we can rebuild these relationships, creating a kind and safe world for all life."

The Epsom Derby is set to take place on June 3
The Epsom Derby is set to take place on June 3. Picture: Getty

It comes amid fears several protest groups could cause significant disruption to King Charles' Coronation, which is taking place on Saturday, May 6.

Republic, which wants to abolish the monarchy, say they will protest on The Mall, Trafalgar Square and Westminster Abbey as King Charles' parade moves through central London.

The group expects more than 1000 protesters to join in, asking those attending to wear yellow and wave 'Not My King' placards from 6am on May 6.

The protest will come before what the group describes as a 'Big Republican Lunch', while more protests are planned across the UK during the Coronation.

Republican is asking protestors to wave yellow 'Not My King' placards during the protest
Republican is asking protestors to wave yellow 'Not My King' placards during the protest. Picture: Alamy

Republic's website reads: "On Saturday 6th May the eyes of the world will be on the Coronation. This is the moment we make our objection loud, visible and impossible to ignore. 

"Pledge to add your voice to the call for a republic."

The group's leader Graham Smith has previously admitted that heckling the Queen before her death would not have gone down well with the public.

But Mr Smith believes King Charles' ascension to the throne provides the group with an opportunity to spread its message.

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