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The Horror of Horse-Racing
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The Horror of Horse-Racing

I thought this subject is something all horse-loving people should be aware of, if you are not already. I am referring to the ruthless exploitation and greed of the racing industry (This blog refers to Great Britain but the same principles apply in all countries).I know that most people consider that horse-racing is a completely harmless sport, that the animals are well taken care of, and that “they only run because they want to run.”, as I used to think myself. (this is a common myth). Unfortunately that is far from being the case: racing actually causes a great deal of suffering and death to horses. I only realised this myself a few years ago (and I am well into middle age!) So naturally now I will always boycott races, unless it is to protest about them (I have a close friend who regularly hands out anti-racing leaflets at racecourses near her, in all weathers, and has also experienced a lot of abuse and harassment in the course of this, but she steadfastly carries on, which I really admire her for).

If anyone finds it hard to believe how cruel racing is to horses, I think the statistics of casualties and deaths speak for themselves. To give an example: around 420 horses in Britain and Ireland are raced to death every year, and thousands of commercial “failures” are disposed of, e.g. sent to be made into pet food, for example. You can view a report of all the racing accidents and fatalities here, compiled by the national UK-based pressure group, Animal Aid. If you study this report, you swill see that these figures are horrifying, and it is completely unjustifiable. Even the horses that are not raced to death usually have quite miserable lives. They often develop serious racing-related illnesses, such as heart problems, bleeding lungs and gastric ulcers. Not to mention the fact that they are whipped to make them run faster, which is clearly cruel and painful, and often leaves the animals with weals which need to be treated.

The cruelest race of all for horses in Britain is the Grand National, a steeplechase over three days held at Aintree in England. It is deliberately hazardous, to maximise the risk and “excitement”, with the horses having to confront very high and treacherous jumps and hurdles. Almost every year there are fatalities; even if horses are not killed outright, they end up with horrific injuries like broken legs, necks and backs (see the accompanying picture) and have to be put down (or, quite often, don't have to be put down, but are not given the chance to recover, as whilst they are incapacitated they are not making any money for their owners! There is no compassion for the animals, it is all completely ruthless and mercenary). The horses who get to retire are not usually kept in good conditions, but end up being neglected and slaughtered. This disgustingly cruel industry is kept going by the course attendance fees and money made through betting.

I hope I have managed to persuade anyone who cares about horses not to support racing in any way. Here is a petition to ban the Grand National in Britain, for anyone who would like to add their support to this campaign:

http://www.animalaid.org.uk/h/f/ACTIVE/petition/?id=10&campaign=horse

I hope that this blog gave you some food for thought. Your votes and comments are much appreciated.

Picture courtesy of www.animalaid.org.uk

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Leave a Comment

  1. Rene Wright
    Rene Wright
    Voted. There are a lot of farms here in the U.S. that do take care of their horses both during & post racing. Though there are several that don't & end up in rescues, slaughterhouses or just die in the pastures. It is cruel, & the peoples actions/thoughts towards a general census about animals is shocking to say the least. Raising awareness of any kind is always going to get a backlash from those who are for it, but Bravo! to your friend who is steadfast in her beliefs. Greed is a hard habit to break...
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  2. naturegirl
    Voted, Maggie. I don't even have to write what I think of this! You already know! I already have one about this called "The Unethical Practice of Horse-Racing", and one called "Trampled Foals in .... (name of location... I forgot!) Check them out!
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  3. naturegirl
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    1. Chestnut Mare
      Chestnut Mare
      Thank you both for the votes and comments. Yes, there is so much money in racing, so many rich and infleuntial people who are involved in it, that it will be a very difficult thing to get stopped. But I wanted to at least raise awareness of it - the fewer people who support it, the better.
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  4. jst4horses
    There was a tv series in America that stopped because of too many deaths on their own set. Thank you to the producers and actors. Racing is very controlled, but too expensive in America, which has led to people who race off track. Racing itself needs to be opened up, the twenty year rise in horse value has caused serious problems. When racing was more small farms and owners, the horses were more likely to be taken better care of. They were not just dimes in the slot machine to greedy people looking for tax write offs. One of our trainers found a five year old starving in a field. She went to a nearby house, the woman said the horse had been left by a trainer, but the other horses did not let him eat, and she did not think the trainer wanted him back. She said take him if you want. They brought him in and our friend took care of him for over a year. He has lung damage, and two tendons shot. The expense of caring for him is probably more than he will ever be worth, but she was recovering from being assaulted by two different students at the middle school where she taught, and he meant a lot to her. Now she is determined that one day they both will be well enough to ride, even if just around the ring, together. We have an endurance mare, once valued at $250,000 who came in with both back legs as big as watermelons and both rear seismoids blown. She will never be ridable again. She had been bred, over and over and over, then sold down to someone else to breed some more. I told the new owner I would at my own cost put her back together, and in six months if my vet said no, he would agree not to breed her. He said no. The man was going to put her down, but I said, just leave her, the women veterans, and high risk girls love grooming her. Her legs are normal size, my shoer is designing special shoes for her, and she has boots to protect her legs, but will never be ridden again. Every sport, even human ones, need to become more humane.
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  5. jst4horses
    I think that racing outlawed creates racing worse than ever, but I think we can, as a global society make sure racing is much more humane. First, I do not think jockeys need to be protected as well. We have the MacBeth Jockey Memorial Fund, for jockeys and Pegasus and other race horse rescues and support programs for the horses. HOWEVER, I do not think anyone should be allowed to breed, or sell horses for racing, or other sports without paying a stiff fee that goes along with the horse for retirement. The horses that do die, or are euthanized, their money should go into the pot to help programs such as Pegasus (we are working on global standards and industry self certification programs) to take care of the horses injured or killed making billions for humans. The Bible actually warns humans to care for the animals they use, and retire the old plough horse, or milk cow. We have let big agra, big sport, big betting allow us to forget these humane concepts. I know several racing owners who when their horses are no longer racing, they come home, to the BIG paddocks and grass fields around the owner's own homes and are well cared for for their whole lives. One lady told me she loves seeing them out in the pastures and knowing they are content with their friends. Most of these people have even left estate trusts to take care of their animals until they are old and die, or are put down for humane reasons. I think WE the ones who do see better for the world, have to make sure we make those who do NOT, have fines, and whatever to make them see it our way. I would one day love to own huge retirement ranches where seniors, or cancer patients, or treatment programs could just use part of the money for the extra hay, and trims, and vet care to allow the horses just to roam a BIG ranch and be horses for the rest of their lives, with lots of people who can sit on benches, feed them carrots and mints and just feel happier themselves watching the horses. WE all can make this a better world, but I feel it takes all of us to stop playing the greedy game. NONE of us needs to kill our horse so we can have a trophy in the living room. Why not have exhibition or tournament events where everyone who enters is rated on their own past performance, and how the horse performs for the judges and those trophies and ribbons might mean something more than pushing your horse to injury or death. Even persons. Recently a young woman was killed here in America in an endurance campaign THe parents wanted to blame the trainer for sending her out on a horse that was too much for her. THEY were the ones who insisted she be in the competition! I would hope more and more people begin to honor horses for being horses, and not just a way to make themselves feel better because the horse won them a ribbon, or a big buck betting. GO to the slot machines.
    Log in to reply.
  6. jst4horses
    I think that racing outlawed creates racing worse than ever, but I think we can, as a global society make sure racing is much more humane. First, I do not think jockeys need to be protected as well. We have the MacBeth Jockey Memorial Fund, for jockeys and Pegasus and other race horse rescues and support programs for the horses. HOWEVER, I do not think anyone should be allowed to breed, or sell horses for racing, or other sports without paying a stiff fee that goes along with the horse for retirement. The horses that do die, or are euthanized, their money should go into the pot to help programs such as Pegasus (we are working on global standards and industry self certification programs) to take care of the horses injured or killed making billions for humans. The Bible actually warns humans to care for the animals they use, and retire the old plough horse, or milk cow. We have let big agra, big sport, big betting allow us to forget these humane concepts. I know several racing owners who when their horses are no longer racing, they come home, to the BIG paddocks and grass fields around the owner's own homes and are well cared for for their whole lives. One lady told me she loves seeing them out in the pastures and knowing they are content with their friends. Most of these people have even left estate trusts to take care of their animals until they are old and die, or are put down for humane reasons. I think WE the ones who do see better for the world, have to make sure we make those who do NOT, have fines, and whatever to make them see it our way. I would one day love to own huge retirement ranches where seniors, or cancer patients, or treatment programs could just use part of the money for the extra hay, and trims, and vet care to allow the horses just to roam a BIG ranch and be horses for the rest of their lives, with lots of people who can sit on benches, feed them carrots and mints and just feel happier themselves watching the horses. WE all can make this a better world, but I feel it takes all of us to stop playing the greedy game. NONE of us needs to kill our horse so we can have a trophy in the living room. Why not have exhibition or tournament events where everyone who enters is rated on their own past performance, and how the horse performs for the judges and those trophies and ribbons might mean something more than pushing your horse to injury or death. Even persons. Recently a young woman was killed here in America in an endurance campaign THe parents wanted to blame the trainer for sending her out on a horse that was too much for her. THEY were the ones who insisted she be in the competition! I would hope more and more people begin to honor horses for being horses, and not just a way to make themselves feel better because the horse won them a ribbon, or a big buck betting. GO to the slot machines.
    Log in to reply.

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