IN response to Norman Chamberlain’s letter (HAS, April 7) claiming that the Grand National is not cruel and neither is use of the whip, I would like to make a number of points.

Between 2000 and 2011, 20 horses have died on the Grand National course and, during the three day meeting, 34 horses have been killed in that same period.

Last year’s race was particularly brutal.

I, along with many others, were disgusted by the sickening spectacle of two horse deaths seen live on TV (one of the horses being referred to by BBC commentators as “an obstacle”, demonstrating a complete disregard for animal welfare).

The reality is jockeys use the whip to bully and intimidate horses in the running up to and beyond their physical limits.

The public knows this, which is why, according to a poll commissioned by the British Horse Racing Authority (BHA) 57 per cent of people want an outright ban on the whip.

In 2010 the BHA recorded 17 incidents of horses being wealed by the so-called cushioned whip.

In 1982, Norway effectively banned the use of the whip in horse racing.

Alison Jermy, Darlington.