Written by PETA
Eight Belles did it for New York Times sports columnist William C. Rhoden. After watching the filly break both front legs just after crossing the finish line in the 2008 Kentucky Derby, Rhoden never covered another horse race. "From Eight Belles to Barbaro to thousands of horses in between, racing is a brutal game that grinds up young horses," he wrote in a recent column. "This unrepentant industry exists solely for the pleasure of gamblers and gambling."
Rhoden also joined PETA in condemning the racing industry's abandonment of burned-out, used-up thoroughbreds and backed PETA's proposed Thoroughbred 360 Lifecycle Retirement Plan, which would require that thoroughbred owners and breeders pay a $360 retirement fee for every foal registration, ownership transfer, and breeding registration. Rhoden calls the Jockey Club's refusal to take action in response to PETA's proposal "hardly … acceptable in an industry in which an estimated 10,000 horses from the United States end up slaughtered for meat every year …."
You can help prod the Jockey Club to do right by the animals it uses by sending an e-mail asking that it adopt PETA's retirement plan.
It seems that people are getting wise to how the horse-racing industry causes horses to suffer and die, and they're staying away from the tracks in droves. The most recent casualty is Baltimore's Pimlico Race Course. Pimlico's owners have gone bankrupt, and it now appears that the state may take possession of the track.
With the death of the racing industry looming, we're asking Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley for his help in turning Pimlico into a horse empathy park. Pimlico should serve as a memorial for the thousands of horses who have died in pursuit of "the roses" (such as Barbaro, who died following his excruciating injury during the Preakness, held at—guess where?—Pimlico). The notorious racetrack can become a center where people can experience what it's like to be a "champion."
If Governor O'Malley comes through, visitors could tour educational displays about horses, see exhibits of painful bits and spurs, and even experience blinkers, whipping, and the "fun" of racing around a track with a heavy weight on their back. If it helps shut down more racetracks, I can't think of a better way to spend a vacation!
Written by Jeff Mackey
Barbaro, the horse who suffered a catastrophic leg injury during the 2006 Preakness, was euthanized yesterday morning. He had been in poor condition for more than 8 months after the accident, and it is a small mercy at least that his suffering is finally over.
Of course, in all the outward show of regret about Barbaro's cruel fate from within the horse-racing industry, everyone conveniently forgot to mention the fact that this kind of misery comes standard for horses used in racing. While the world watched to see what would happen to Barbaro, countless other horses continued to die on the tracks, and tens of thousands more (including thoroughbreds) were sold for slaughter—their meat used in cat food or sold to European countries for human consumption.
The story is being pitched as an unexpected accident that shocked the country, but the truth is that Barbaro's tragedy is a very public reminder of the plight of racehorses everywhere and the cruel fate that awaits so many victims of the horse racing industry.
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Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.