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Fate of Horses Used in Racing: Not Pretty

Written by PETA | June 2, 2010

PETA Files readers already know that few “retired” racehorses live out the remainder of their days frolicking in rolling green pastures. Now, Washington Post readers know it, too, thanks to a great article that was published over Memorial Day weekend.

The article describes one of the many ugly sides of the horse-racing industry—the fact that with approximately 35,000 thoroughbreds born in the U.S. every year, there are thousands of horses who don’t have quite enough speed and stamina to be champions. What becomes of these also-rans? Most are eventually sold at auction, where many are bought by “killer buyers.”

While no horse slaughterhouses are currently operating in the U.S., horses are still being shipped to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico. Some retired racehorses—even Derby champs like Ferdinand and Charismatic—also wind up in Japan, where they may initially be used for breeding. But when they stop being moneymakers, they, too, may be slaughtered, as a PETA investigation at a Japanese slaughterhouse last year revealed.

You can help by contacting your U.S. representatives and asking them to sponsor the Prevention of Equine Cruelty Act, which would make it illegal to slaughter horses for consumption in the U.S. or to export them for slaughter.

Written by Alisa Mullins

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  • Lilly says:

    I am horrified to see how people have been treating there horses. First they buy them and spend tons and millions of dollars on these innocent creatures. It starts well but When one horse looses or gets sick the owner just says ” I dont care it was a waste of money keep that thing” And they walk away without paying for anything including any veterinarian care. Leaving the horse to die or get forced to race go into smelly and dirty corrals or just be given to so carless owner. Thanks so much PETA for helping the world stop horrible abuse!

  • Sara says:

    To Caroline and others there are not enough homes and resources for all of the thousands of unwanted animals out there whether horses dogs cats etc. Horses are unfortunately much more expensive to house feed and care for so selling at auction is the only choice for some owners. Unfortunately kill buyers shop those auctions and the methods used to transport horses for slaughter and then slaughter them are awful. There may never be a solution to the thousands of people breeding animals of all sorts for profit even if they know that a percentage of those animals may end up killed for no good reason.

  • Mackenzie says:

    Omg this is to horrible i am a horse back rider and i can believe that animals are even sold to the slaugter houses. These animals should go to people that want a horse or can be put in a facility to be adopted.

  • Jennifer Allen says:

    I am 100 against horse slaughter.. if you go on any horse forums there are heated debates about whether the practice should be stoped or not. Horses are beautiful creatures and like every other domesticated animals they are over bred. Unfit owners are breeding horses with no experience resulting in a foal that nobody wants.. It is irresponsible and disturbing. I have tried to do my part but frankly where i live it doesnt work very well. The states have band horse slaughter houses for now they are all sent up to Canada. They ways of killing them is not hummane and is not proper. Horses give their lives to work for us humans and we just throw them out like they are meaningless. They are very sensitve creatures and deserve respect. I understand that not all horses are going to find homes and when im older I will save as many as I can.. If they are old and will never get a home euthanzie it instead of a sending it to an inhummane death hole.

  • sanjuro says:

    I think they do this not only with racehorses but with most horses. When they’re not profitable anymore they send them to the slaughterhouse I know they do it over here too in Finland see httpbit.lybirVBo . Some idiots see those poor animals only as foodstuff. This is an abomination.

  • indycar01 says:

    race cars not animals. try nascar indycar or f1.com formula one.

  • Gloria Brown says:

    I’m on a fairly low budget SSD. I give 10$ to almost every org I can. including Peta ASPCA. Wildlife Whales Wolves you name it I contribite. An animal can’t cry can’t ask you to stop hurting them can’t feed themselves or keep warm or cool. What do people think? I’m called the “Dog Lady” only because I prefer them but I’ve placed cats too And my daughter has a PUG rescue in NJ for pugs. It just seems It’s never enough but I do try and anyone can try too. I can do without an icecream cone or a piece of pizza for a week why aren’t people helping as much as they should? It’s not our animals it US!!

  • Caroline Wilson says:

    My question to this horse industry if the horse isn’t profitable any longer? Why can’t these horses be adopted out. Why can’t these animals be used for ranches or a farm and used for riding trails? Frankly hearing that these animals are being sold to killer buyers I find quite disturbing. Is the only thing that these people care about is money?

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