Animal rights group Animal Rising has said it will not disrupt the Grand National, after last year’s race was delayed by around 15 minutes.

More than 100 protesters from Animal Rising were arrested after a large number attempted to gain entry to the Aintree Racecourse track on April 15 2023.

In June, animal rights activist Ben Newman ran onto the track at the Epsom Derby, then was later handed a suspended prison sentence because the Jockey Club, the owners of Epsom, had been granted an injunction preventing disruption.

Now the group has said it does “not need to be there to affect change”.

Animal Rising posted on X saying: “A year ago we delayed the Grand National and made headlines across the world, with over 100 Animal Rising supporters arrested as we protested the cruelty of horse racing. It led to a nationwide conversation on what it means to be an animal lover and the beginning of the end of horse racing in the UK.

“This year, we want to let Aintree know – we don’t need to be there to affect change, and the animal-loving British public demands an end to the industry – forever.”

The group also shared a link to an online petition calling for the Grand National 2024 to be cancelled, which more than 35,000 people have signed.

Ben Newman, spokesperson for Animal Rising, labelled last year as “the beginning of the end for horse racing”.

He said: “Last year the British public saw through the myths of the horse racing industry as a spotlight was put onto the Grand National.

“It’s plain to see that 2023 was the beginning of the end for horse racing. All that remains to be done is for the Jockey Club to continue to dig the industry’s grave by continuing to force horses to – tragically – race to their deaths.

“We all want to see these horses living happy lives in sanctuaries, not being raced; just as we need to see mass rewilding and a plant-based food system to really tackle our climate and nature crises.”

Last year Hill Sixteen was destroyed after falling at the first fence – the third to die at the three-day festival – prompting campaigners to call for jump racing to be banned.

Officials at Aintree have announced a number of changes to the race, including a new start time of 4pm, moving the first fence nearer to the starting tape and reducing the field to 34 from 40 runners.