Ruby Walsh, one of Britain's top jockeys, has been attacked over his "callous" comments following the death of a horse at Cheltenham Festival.
After Our Conor suffered a fatal fall in front of horrified TV viewers, the Grand National champion dismissively said the animal was replaceable.
"Horses are horses. You can replace a horse," he said, provoking the wrath of animal lovers, who branded his comments "disgraceful."
"It’s sad, but horses are animals, outside your back door. Humans are humans. They are inside your back door.
"You can replace a horse. You can’t replace a human being. That’s my feeling on it," he said.
The animal welfare group Peta, told the Huffington Post UK that Walsh's comments expose "the true emotion behind horse racing: greed."
"The charity said the comments "are deeply offensive to anyone who has ever loved and lost a horse or other beloved animal companion.
"Unlike Walsh, horses are not unfeeling but experience joy, anxiety, fear and affection, just as human beings do.
"Horses are treated like wind-up toys, their fragile limbs pushed to and sometimes beyond the breaking point, and are overworked to the detriment of their health by the inherently cruel and greedy racing business, where money is king.
"Every year, hundreds of horses come a cropper and die on British racetracks, only to be casually discarded.
"Thousands more are turned into dog food when they stop winning. Walsh needs reminding that it wasn't so long ago that people used to deride his fellow countrymen using the same sort of ignorant language, and he'd do well to think a little harder and apologise for his comments."
Our Conor, a five-year-old who was sold for £1m in 2013, had to be put down following a horrific fall in the Stan James Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham.
The horse was treated for back injuries for some time before vets took the decision to humanely put down the five-year-old.
The charity Animal Aid has said 48 horses have been killed as a result of racing at Cheltenham since March 2007 – more than any of the other 57 British venues.
Responding to the latest death, the charity said it is now time for "decisive action."
"The 2014 Cheltenham Festival had barely got underway when it had killed one of the most highly-rated horses in the country.
"It will be an outrage if the racing authorities declare once again that this tragedy was 'an accident' and 'could not have been foreseen or avoided'."
Others took to Twitter to voice their outrage over the jockey's comments, with many saying he should have more respect for the creatures that have made him rich.
Disappointed by the comments made by Ruby Walsh regarding the creatures that have made him so rich.— Charlotte Paddock (@chop_emms11) March 12, 2014
@Ruby_Walsh pretty heartless comments!!! Someone should tell the other horses.....cos im sure jockeys are 'replaceable'— Max!mus (@MaximusITS) March 12, 2014
@Ruby_Walsh should be working in a knackers yard— TG (@WATPibrox) March 12, 2014
Hope Ruby Walsh falls off a sodding horse and suffers. Then he'll see that despicable little men can be replaced just like horses......— Karolyn Charles (@Karolyn_33) March 12, 2014
Shame on you Ruby Walsh— Zlatan1985 (@Zlatans1985) March 12, 2014
I hear Ruby Walsh has proved the old adage right: 'It's better to keep quiet and appear stupid, than open your mouth and remove all doubt!— Mark Marius (@SubPolitics) March 12, 2014
@Ruby_Walsh a horse is not just simply a horse!!! It can be part of your family— Max!mus (@MaximusITS) March 12, 2014
Suggest a correction
Ruby Walsh is an offensive pig ignorant fool who should refrain from speaking to the media.— Heather Reeves (@treebie) March 12, 2014