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Last Updated: Tuesday April 12 2011 10:35 GMT

Is the Grand National cruel?

Grand National

The Grand National is one of the most famous horse races around, and draws crowds from all over the world.

It's a tough race that pushes competitors to their limit. This year two horses died during the race.

Animal rights campaigners say the race is cruel, and shouldn't be allowed. But race organisers say they work hard to make sure the horses are as well cared for as possible.

What do you think?

Is the Grand National cruel? Should the course be changed to make it easier for the horses? Or should it be banned altogether?

The race is famous for being difficult - would making it easier spoil the competition?

Whatever you reckon, we want to know!

Your comments

"I think it is cruel - horses may enjoy it but they don't know that they can die. But I like watching it so it would be better if it became safer."

Caitlin, 14, England

"I love animals too much and have always thought racing animals is cruel. I would like to stop it now."

Catherine, 12, Nottingham, England

"The Grand National is not cruel because the horses are born and raised to do it."

Kieran, 10, London, England

"I think they should shorten the race. The horses ended up dehydrated after this year's Grand National."

Libbie, 13, Liverpool, England

"I think the Grand National isn't cruel because horses are bred for it and they treat the racehorses like royalty."

Lucy, 10, England

"The horses who run in the Grand National are born and bred for this race."

Jacob, 12, Essex, England

"I disagree with the Grand National, because horses are put under too much pressure. And horse racing just causes chaos - like when Emily Davidson ran out - I know this wasn't the organiser's fault and it was ages ago, but it is dangerous and should be banned, it is just an easy way for trouble."

Libby, 11, County Durham, England

"The problem is that there's too many horses racing and therefore accidents can happen. If you cut down the number of horses racing, that might prevent it. Otherwise people may need to stop the Grand National."

Kieran, 14, Dorset, England

"I think that the Grand National is mean and any sport where animals are hurt or killed should be banned forever!"

Beth, 12, Birmingham, England

"Horses die every year because of these races. It's cruel and they were not born to die in such a horrible way. How would humans feel, if we were killed because of something we didn't even want to do?"

Kiera, 10, London, England

I think it was terrible that two horses died and the jockey was hurt , but the course is hard and is a meant to be, it was just bad luck that they jumped badly, the injuries do not happen every year.

Alice, 13, Northumberland, England

"I don't think it should be banned because the horses that race, are trained race horses."

Neve, 11, Scotland

"No, it isn't cruel. I've been working with horses for seven years; they just need to be trained to slow down before they get to the jump so they will not speed over it and trip."

Faith, 11, North Yorkshire, England

"I think it should be banned because a lot of horses and people die or get seriously hurt."

Rebecca, 8, England

"It is sad but some horses are bred for it."

Melvin, 12, Scotland

"It isn't cruel. The horses are bred for racing and it's what they do day in and day out. "

Tiphiane, 14, Dorset, England

"I disagree with the Grand National because horses are put under too much pressure. And horse racing just causes chaos. It's dangerous and should be banned."

Libby, 11, Co. Durham, England

"I think it should be banned because it's really cruel, and if horses die then it should definitely be banned."

Rachel, 10 (today!), England

"I think the Grand National is cruel because horses weren't born to race. They are equal to humans and should have equal rights like us. We wouldn't like it if we were forced to race. Horses are beautiful creatures and, if they don't want to do it, they shouldn't be forced to. It's OK, though, if they want to race and enjoy doing it."

Zaynab, 12, Walsall, England

"It isn't cruel because it's something that the family can enjoy."

Lauren, 13, Reading, England

"As long as the horses are cared for properly, then it's fine."

Amy, 14, Sussex, England

"It's not fair on the horses because the jockeys don't actually care about them. They only care about winning."

Saffron, Justine & Ellington, 9, Suffolk, England

"The Grand National should not be banned. The horses are trained to do it."

Kieran, 9, Scotland

"The Grand National is very cruel to the horses. It must be really hard being hurt during the races."

Lucy, 9, Somerset, England

"Horses love running, but not being forced to run with a whip. They trust their jockeys - who are forcing them on a long and strenuous race. It really is all about greed and not about the love of horses."

Sue, 14, Lincoln, England

"It's not cruel, it's natural. The horses have been bred for it."

Georgina, 13, Wales

"The Grand National is a great thing to watch. However, as a horse lover myself, I think that it's a very dangerous thing to take part in. People don't realise how dangerous it can be. BAN THE GRAND NATIONAL NOW!"

Elle, 10, Manchester, England

"The jockeys whip these horses, which hurts them, and if they fall they get badly injured too. What does the Grand National do for the jockeys? Nothing, except maybe give them a bill to help the horses get better."

Bria, 11, Surrey, England

"I think it's cruel because the horses have to run really fast, which hurts their legs, and if they slow down then they get slapped on the back."

Semra, 12, London, England

"If they are well cared for, then it is fine."

Amy, 13, Manchester, England

"I think animal rights campaigners are wrong because they don't realise that horses love running around!"

Jenny, 11, London, England

"Has anybody actually thought of the number of jockeys who also get killed or injured? It's not just about the horses!"

Emily, 12, London, England

"Of course it's cruel. It's disgusting. We humans are forcing animals who are a lot more innocent than us to do things that their bodies cannot take. And all for a bit of money."

Richard, 12, Kent, England

"It's fine, because it's only a bit of fun anyway."

Danielle, 13, Kent, England

"It's cruel because innocent lives can be lost and the horses didn't choose to take part in the race. What if they didn't want to race?"

Danny, 11, Surrey, England

"I HATE the Grand National because horses are hurt or killed during the race. The rest of my family love watching it, but I have to leave the room when it's on TV. I wish it was banned!"

Stephanie, 12, London, England

"No, it isn't cruel because horses love racing. It's part of their life!"

Steph, 14, London, England

"It isn't cruel. It's been going on for years, so why should it stop now? Of course it's bad that two horses died, but at least they died feeling happy!"

Jessica, 12, Kent, England

"I think that is not really cruel because the horses are bred for it and when the rider TAPS them with the crop it DOES NOT hurt them. And anyway who is anyone to say that it's cruel because you're not a horse. Horses enjoy it - you can tell."

Poppy, 13, Nottingham, England

"No! The Grand National isn't cruel! Horses love racing and it is fun for us to put bets on!"

Sophie, 13, London, England

"I think the Grand National is really cruel. All horses should be free."

Naomi, 14, Preston, England

"I disagree with the grand national because horses die."

Marc, 12, London, England