The Grand National is - by design, no less - an accident waiting to happen. Forty horses compete for space on the 4.5mile course fraught with obstacles, jumps and dangerous terrain. Last year, only 17 horses - fewer than half - managed to reach the finishing post. And while the race organisers were quick to highlight an unusual absence of fatalities, they failed to mention that two horses were killed in the run-up to the event earlier that week. More than three dozen horses who might otherwise have been grazing and running in the fields have been killed at Aintree in the last 50 years.
The lack of genetic diversity caused by inbreeding greatly increases the likelihood that recessive genes, which cause debilitating afflictions, will be passed along to puppies. As a result, roughly one in four purebred dogs suffers from serious congenital defects, such as hypothyroidism, epilepsy, cataracts, allergies, heart disease and hip dysplasia - a disease that can lead to crippling, lameness and painful arthritis.
The idea that fur is springing into fashion again is absurd, even though that's the line the fur trade has tried to sell to reporters for more than a decade. You may see more fur on the catwalk, but that's because fur is so cheap that furriers have resorted to paying designers to use it. Its presence on the catwalk does not reflect what people are wearing on the high street.
The Princess Royal's argument, which she put forward in a speech to the charity World Horse Welfare, is that people would look after their horses more carefully if they were planning to turn them into steaks and burgers later on. However, in our experience, any animal used for food is much more likely to be treated with disrespect than with respect. Given the regular exposés of mistreated pigs and chickens raised for food, it's absurd to think people would take better care of horses if there were a market for their meat.
Besides the risk of looking like Liberace, there's another reason why men should avoid fur at all costs: cruelty to animals is a real turnoff and isn't going to score you any points with the ladies - or anyone else, for that matter. In fact, according to a recent opinion poll, 95 per cent of British people say that they wouldn't dream of wearing real fur. That's because they know that for the animals trapped in filthy cages on fur farms, who are never allowed to feel the grass beneath their feet or dive into a cool stream...
Now more than ever, as animal testing is being scrutinised and debated in the public forum, animal advocates must continue to speak for those whose voices have been ignored for too long. We can win the fight against animal testing and eliminate the need to mark World Day for Animals in Laboratories ever again.
Animals have feelings and emotions, and they suffer from pain, disabilities and diseases just as humans do. But unlike my father, who could clearly communicate his wishes through a system of blinking his eyes, animals can't tell us (at least not in human language) that they don't feel well, are in terrible pain or even want to die. They depend on us to notice when something is wrong and to be brave enough to make the heartbreaking-but-humane decision to end their suffering when the time comes.