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'You can replace a horse, you can't replace a human'

ESPN staff
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Ruby Walsh's comments have provoked an angry response from animal rights campaigners © Getty Images
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Ruby Walsh has sparked outrage among animal rights campaigners after playing down the death of racehorse Our Conor at the Cheltenham Festival.

Our Conor fell during the Champions Hurdle while contesting the lead with Captain Cee Bee, but Walsh played down the incident, saying "horses are horses" and "you can replace a horse".

He added: "You can't replace a human being. That's my feeling on it."

And campaign group Animal Aid said 34-year-old Walsh had "no respect" for the animals that have brought him so much success.

Speaking to the Daily Mail, Dene Stansall said: "He has shown callousness for the animals that have earned him a good living. It's completely disrespectful. To treat the death of a horse in such a way shows that they are merely machines for people to make money.

"Ruby Walsh is the leading jockey at Cheltenham and wants to support the event as much as he can, but you cannot disregard the lives of horses just because they are not humans. We would expect more from him. This shows he has got little empathy for a horse that really suffered before it died."

Walsh was victorious in the Novice's Hurdle on Faugheen on Wednesday.

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