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They Would Beat a Dead Horse

Written by PETA | October 9, 2009

What’s more important to the racing industry: horses or money?

If you thought horses, we’ve found two recent news stories that will change your mind.


Consider this: Thanks to a lawsuit involving the co-owners of former Kentucky Derby favorite I Want Revenge, it’s become even clearer how often horses used in the racing industry are dangerously overmedicated. Horses are given anti-inflammatory steroids and painkillers to keep them running even after they’ve been injured—and of 20 trainers interviewed by The New York Times, only three were willing to turn over their veterinary records.

The New York Times also reports, “[T]here is a consensus among equine researchers and surgeons that legal medications and cortisone shots, over time, leave a horse vulnerable to a catastrophic breakdown.”

In other words, even the legal drugs that the racing industry pumps into horses make horrific incidents like the one at last year’s Kentucky Derby more likely. This is what PETA has been saying since Eight Belles crashed to the track with two broken ankles in the 2008 Kentucky Derby.


delmarscene / CC
Lava Man


Meanwhile, ESPN reports that the owners of Lava Man—a famous horse forced to “retire” early because of injuries—are trying to squeeze a few more bucks out of the old fella by bringing him back onto the track. According to ESPN, because of his previous injuries, Lava Man is at great risk of suffering a catastrophic breakdown on the track and says that while “[n]ot a single national media outlet will cover Lava Man’s comeback race,” “every single one would cover a disastrous outcome. … Pick your letters: ESPN, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, or, worse yet, PETA.”

Darn skippy.

Time after time, the racing industry risks animals’ lives for an extra dollar. Forget the finish line—it’s all about the bottom line.

Written by Amanda Schinke

Commenting is closed.
  • Jesse says:

    There is nothing wrong with *horse racing*. There is, however, a problem with the way it is done. Most of these animals know what race day is and absolutely love it. However, ALL of the race horses would love it if things were done right. The age is too young, especially since not all “2 year olds” are quite 2 years old. January 1st is the North American racehorse birthday. If the owners and trainers listened to the animals and didn’t push them so hard, horse racing would be a grand sport. Yes, there would still be accidents and injuries since it is a high speed sport and no sport is without injuries, even in the human world, but there would be FAR fewer and I believe, in the end, it would result in healthier, hardier horses because they breed only the best. The best, in my fantasy racing world, would be those who, because the use of the drugs and steroids are banned, are naturally the strongest and fastest horses.

  • Jack says:

    LOOKS LIKE HE WILL BE RACING DEC 12Hope nothing happens to LAVA MAN due to previous injuries asking track vets to check him over very indepth

  • Anne Speakman says:

    I have been riding the same horse for 23 years we are friends the horse race industry is all about money. there are no old race horses they don’t last the abuse they suffer but always will to run. to please say a prayer for them and the people who love them for what they are.

  • lindsey says:

    this is HORRIBLE…i ride horses myself they are gracefullintellegent and so much more… we cannot let this animals race anylonger and suffer anymore!!!!!!

  • Andrew Sprawson says:

    And in South Africa people are lobbying for the legalisation of dog racing now. Seems we are taking a step backwards on this one.

  • sheila gersmann says:


  • ACarLessFamily says:

    As someone who spent 10 years working in the racing indusrty I can catigorically state that I think it is the most in humane of the equestrian sports. Unlike other horse realtd sports racing has huge amounts of money riding on it which means that horses are pushed beyond capabilities at any cost. IN Eventing or Show jumping for instance a horses owner and or rider are more keen to keep a horse going for another day they will pull a hors that “dosn’t feel right” out of a competition rather than risk ingury to the horse. During my time in racing I saw horses doped operated on illegally “fired” given “tubes” in their throats to help them breath better. The lads and lasses who looked after these horses were discouraged from forming “attatchments” to their charges and so often traeted them as you would factory farm animals. In my younth I worked in many equestrian disceplins and it was racing that left me with the most bitter taste in my mouth.

  • Kathleen Smith says:

    Here in England Animal Aid is threatening to take legal action against the owner and trainer of a racehorse that has twice collasped and needed oxygen at the end of a race I think one was our notorious Grand National. They said theyd do it if the horse raced again so hopefully theyve forced them to ” retire ” the horse. Hopefully hell be retired to a place where he can enjoy the rest of his life and not sent to a premature end at a slaughter house!I appreciate our laws are different but couldnt Peta do something like that in this instance?

  • Michele says:

    Horses are such graceful and kind creatures. They really don’t deserve any of this torture that people put on them just to make some cash. PLEASE KEEP FIGHTING for this cause PETA. Horses everywhere are in pain

  • darla hill says:

    These types of people don’t care about animalsthey believe in their own liesthat this is acceptablethat these are only animals and have been put on this earth to be abused and used and killed and torchered.Money is truly the root of all evil in these types of cases.These are damaged people free to use and abuse animals in any way they can.People should be ashamed to show their facesto those of us who know what they are doing is wrong.Our laws and law makers are just as bloody sick also. People who go to these activities are just as to blame!These people should be sent to research and find out what makes them so..shelfish and mean.

  • nh says:

    Please join me in taking a moment on behalf of Lava Man to contact the CHRB Board of Directors Equine Medical Director Dr. Rick Arthur and Director of Public Relations Mike Marten You can also contact O’Neill Racing

  • .Susie says:

    Ditto!! It is not about the finish line it’s ALL about the bottom line. That is the sad truth across the line.

  • Brien Comerford says:

    It’s high time for exploitive inhumane and haughty horse racing to be outlawed.