Written by Jeff Mackey
In a huge victory for horses—one that's sure to get even
bigger as its effects are felt throughout the racing industry—the Kentucky
Horse Racing Commission has approved
a plan to phase out the use of the race-day medication furosemide, also known as Lasix
and Salix, in races in the bluegrass state, following pressure from PETA, The Jockey Club, and other
progressive forces within the industry to ban
this dangerous practice.
tasweertaker|cc by 2.0
As PETA Vice President Kathy Guillermo explained when she addressed the commission in November, the prevalence of catastrophic breakdowns in horses has sparked a
backlash against risky procedures such as the use of powerful
Lasix, a powerful diuretic, not only causes horses to lose about
2 percent of their body weight in water (resulting in a weight advantage of
roughly 20 pounds) but also increases urine production, which can mask the
presence of other—often illegal—drugs by "flushing out" a horse's
system. This enables unscrupulous trainers and veterinarians to run injured
horses when they should be recovering by giving them a variety of drugs to mask
pain and control inflammation, leading to breakdowns.
Most countries ban the use of Lasix on race days because of
its performance-enhancing qualities, yet more than 90 percent of thoroughbreds
in the U.S. are given the drug just hours before they race. But thanks to the
efforts of PETA and other advocates for horses, the tide is turning.
With this latest victory, Lasix will be banned in 2014 for
all 2-year-old graded and listed stakes races in Kentucky. Starting in 2015,
Lasix will be banned in all 3-year-old graded and listed stakes races, which
means that the Kentucky Derby will be Lasix-free in 2015! The next year, Lasix
will be prohibited from all graded and listed stakes races regardless of age.
Join PETA in celebrating this important victory by keeping
the momentum going—please contact your members of Congress and ask them to
support the Interstate Horseracing Improvement Act, which will ban the use of
performance-enhancing drugs and increase drug testing in all races.
Update: PETA has learned that the New York State Racing and
Wagering Board has just announced a plan that it had
previously formulated similar to what PETA proposed this morning, which will
help ensure the safety of horses during the Belmont Stakes. PETA congratulates
Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the board for taking these
precautions. We urge the board to add the following critical measure: While
currently New York Racing Association (NYRA) veterinarians are required for the
administration of Lasix, we urge the board to require that only NYRA veterinarians supply and administer any medication,
supplements, and vitamins as well as any other substances given to horses during the entire
stakes barn-detention period in order to guarantee the safety of the
I'll Have Another, the thoroughbred who recently won both
the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, would seem to be in an exalted position
as the Belmont Stakes approaches—but even horses at the top of the racing world
are at constant risk. I'll Have Another's trainer, Doug O'Neill, has been in
hot water for drugging violations for more than a decade, and there's no reason
to trust him now. That's why PETA is asking New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo to take
special measures to see that I'll Have Another is protected in the days leading
up to the final Triple Crown race on June 9.
O'Neill has been cited more than a dozen times for violating numerous drug rules in multiple states, culminating in his suspension last week by the California Horse Racing Board. According to a recent New
York Times report, O'Neill's horses also break down or show signs of injury at more than twice the national rate.
Gov. Cuomo cares about thoroughbreds—he recently took control of horse racing in his state, suspending the badly managed New York Racing Association and
forming a government board charged with reforming drug use and protecting the
health and safety of horses and jockeys. So PETA is urging Gov. Cuomo to follow
through on this goal by putting I'll Have Another on round-the-clock
surveillance in the five days before the Belmont to make sure that he won't be
doped up on any of the dangerous substances that O'Neill has used in the past.
Jeff Kubina|cc by 2.0
If the governor acts, it will be another in a series of significant measures that PETA has helped put in place for horses used in racing, so let's keep the
momentum going—speak up for horses today!
Written by Michelle Kretzer
the heels of trainer Doug
O'Neill's win at the Kentucky
Derby with I'll Have Another, The New
York Times reported that in the past 14 years, O'Neill has had nearly that
many violations for giving horses illegal performance-enhancing drugs. That O'Neill could be forcing
horses to run when they shouldn't may account for the fact that the horses he
trains sustain breakdowns or injuries more than twice as often, on average, as
other thoroughbreds. Yet even with multiple drug violations, O'Neill is still sought
after. Little oversight and lenient penalties make it too easy for him and
other trainers to drug horses and get away with it.
banamine|cc by 2.0The U.S. is the only country that still allows routine and extensive use of drugs in horse racing, despite the overwhelming evidence that drugs are deadly for horses.
Long-Standing History of Drug Abuse
fact, of the top 20 U.S. trainers in 2011, only two
were never cited for a drug violation, according to Racing Commissioners
trainer Todd Pletcher, who trained 2010 Kentucky
Derby winner Super Saver, has been suspended several times for drug charges, fellow
top trainer D. Wayne Lukas was caught running horses with cocaine in their systems, and
Darrel Delahoussaye and Patrick Biancone have both had numerous drug violations, including citations
for using snake venom. Rick Dutrow Jr., who trained 2008 Kentucky Derby winner Big Brown, racked
up so many drug violations that he was banned from all New York racetracks for
What You Can Do
Last year, after a congressional
hearing on the use of drugs
in horseracing for which PETA supplied information, the Interstate Horseracing Improvement
Act of 2011 was introduced, which
would ban the use of performance-enhancing drugs and require that the winner and
one other randomly chosen horse be tested for drugs at all races.
take a moment to ask your representatives to vote in favor of this much-needed
Written by PETA
If you needed another reason not to do drugs, consider that
it's causing misery for countless tigers, lions, monkeys, birds, and other
exotic animals coveted by Mexican
drug cartel kingpins
as symbols of power. Mexican authorities have seized thousands of exotic "narco
pets" from the estates of busted drug lords, and they're running out of
room to place the animals. Many go to zoos, which are operating at capacity, so
some animals are turned over to breeding operations.
When security forces arrested Sinaloa cartel leader Jesus "The King"
they confiscated more than 200 animals, including peacocks and ostriches. The animals are regarded primarily as status symbols, and many are denied
proper nutrition and veterinary care. Some big cats are cruelly defanged and declawed.
The cartels have also used exotic animals in the same manner as human "mules"
by stuffing condoms filled with cocaine into their bodies before the animals
are shipped to the U.S.
The ideal solution to this problem would be a universal ban
on owning captive exotic
Until that happens, we can take an important step toward protecting captive
tigers here in the U.S. by closing a loophole that limits protections under the Endangered
Species Act for "generic" tigers—ones who are a mix of more than one sub-species of tiger or
are of unknown heritage. Please take a moment to write to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and ask the agency to protect all tigers equally.
Written by Joe Taksel
For the 10th year in a row, peta2 is traveling the country with the largest rock concert event of the year, the Warped Tour. At each of the tour's 44 stops, the youth outreach concert crew is reaching thousands of young people with information about animal issues. We caught up with peta2's Paige Snyder to get the highlights from the road:
What are some of the most rewarding encounters you've had with people this year?Each conversation we have with a young person is incredibly rewarding. Some of the best moments are when we meet young people who went vegetarian or vegan from meeting us in previous years and have come back to find us and share their stories. This kind of excitement and win for animals never gets old.
What are some interesting stories from the road?We are always the go-to people when any animals are found on-site, and this year, we have rescued five baby birds and a puppy. The puppy was found in Ohio tied to a metal barricade by a 3-foot choke chain with no food or water in 100-degree heat. We also get to work with some really great bands like A Skylit Drive, D.R.U.G.S., and Terrible Things, who do meet and greets with their fans at our table.
How many young people has peta2 reached on this year's tour?So far, we have collected 166,942 pledges to go vegan, given out almost 550,000 pieces of literature, and raised funds to support PETA's lifesaving programs—and we still have three shows left to go! peta2 has a lot to be proud of this summer!
To fund youth outreach programs such as the Warped Tour, PETA relies on donations from our members. Please make a donation today to effect change for animals now and in the future.
Written by Michelle Sherrow
Can Kentucky Derby fans handle the truth? Outdoor advertisers in Louisville don't seem to think so. We sent the ad below to every billboard and bus ad company in town with the intention of running it during next week's Derby, but they all turned us down flat.
We wanted racegoers—and everyone—to know that the horrific on-track breakdown of Eight Belles at the end of the 2008 Kentucky Derby was no fluke. On average, three horses break down on racetracks in America every single day. That adds up to at least 2,000 racehorses dead on tracks since Eight Belles collapsed two years ago after both her front ankles snapped.
After being prodded by PETA, the racing industry has made some improvements, including banning steroids from the states where Triple Crown races are run, but the misuse of legal drugs is still the biggest cause of breakdowns and deaths, and the industry has yet to address that issue in any meaningful way.
Many trainers use injections of painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs to mask fatigue and injury and make horses feel well enough to run when they should be resting and recovering. Racing subjects horses' bodies to punishing stresses that can lead to breakdowns. Racing insiders tell us that some horses are injected with various drugs 25 to 30 times in the week before a race, and it's all legal.
PETA advocates a ban on all drugs during the week leading up to a race, among other reforms. Please take a moment to send an e-mail to the Kentucky Horse Racing Authority to let its officials know that Eight Belles has not been forgotten and to demand that the authority take steps to ensure that no more horses die in pursuit of the roses. As for the Derby: Don't go, don't watch, and don't bet.
Written by Alisa Mullins
After dealing with the pot smugglers who hid almost a ton of marijuana in a banana delivery near the U.S.-Mexico border last month, David Aguilar—the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection—could probably use a boost. So we've got a proposal that's sure to make him smile: Help get rid of another addiction epidemic by hanging our "Say No to Pot (Roast)" signs on the border.
Knowing that meat consumption is linked to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, strokes, and many types of cancer, you'd have to be on drugs to willingly eat carcasses. And that makes sense because meat-eaters are on drugs. Animal products are loaded with antibiotics, dioxins, and hormones that have all been linked to myriad health complications. The green godsend that we can't get enough of? Vegan cooking.
Written by Logan Scherer
Unlike the animated stars of G-Force, real guinea pigs aren't superheroes at all. If they were, they would immediately vaporize the human monsters who subject them to crude and painful experiments.
Every year, more than 200,000 guinea pigs are abused and killed in cruel experiments—they are forced to breathe tobacco smoke, they are locked in chambers for hours at a time and forced to listen to noises as loud as a jet engine, and pregnant guinea pigs are given alcohol to cause birth defects in their babies. Of course, common sense and human-based research tells us that drinking alcohol while pregnant is a no-no, standing next to an airplane when it's taking off is not so good on the ears, and smoking cigarettes can cause disease in nearly every organ of the body.
Wait until Agent Darwin hears about this!
Written by Justin Goodman, Research Associate Supervisor
You had to see this coming. No sooner did A-Rod fess up to taking performance-enhancing drugs in 2003 than we began thinking that the Yankees third baseman should prove that he is committed to being drug-free by—you guessed it—going vegetarian.
"A-Roid" may have voluntarily doped up to enhance his performance, but cows, pigs, turkeys, and chickens are pumped full of growth-promoting drugs in an effort to make them grow fatter faster and to ward off the diseases that are rampant in the cramped, filthy conditions on today's factory farms. Humans, in turn, ingest the drugs when they eat the animals' flesh—no injections required. Therefore, if A-Rod wants to be truly drug-free, then he'll certainly want to listen to our advice.
A collaborative effort involving multiple law-enforcement agencies has resulted in the takedown of what may just be the largest cockfighting ring in U.S. history!
According to information we received from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the DEA-led effort was intended to lead to the confiscation of drugs, not chickens. Officials had been working to gather information on the Gulf Cartel, a Mexican drug trafficking organization. They were following the actions of the alleged smugglers when they stumbled upon the cartel's other dirty business: a massive cockfighting ring.
Kill or be killed may be the chosen mantra for drug lords, but for roosters who are imprisoned and forced to fight to the death, it's not a choice. Rather, it is a cruel existence that is nearly always marked by constant injuries and a painful death.
Thanks to the powers that be, though, the suspected cockfighters were caught red-handed (white-powder–handed?). Eleven individuals were arrested near Nashville, Tennessee, for their involvement, and 30 more arrests took place in Texas, Mississippi, Nevada, Kentucky, North Carolina, and Oklahoma. And, best of all, those birds are out of the ring for good.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky
you have a general question for PETA and would like a response, please e-mail Info@peta.org. If you need to report cruelty to
an animal, please click
here. If you are reporting an animal in imminent danger and know where to find the
animal and if the abuse is taking place right now, please call your local
police department. If the police are unresponsive, please call PETA
immediately at 757-622-7382 and press 2.
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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.