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PETA Asks Chelsea and Hillary Clinton Never to Attend or Bet on Another Horse Race

Written by PETA | May 5, 2008

Following the shocking death of the horse that Senator Hillary Clinton publicly bet on in the Kentucky Derby, PETA has asked her to denounce this dirty “sport.”

In a letter to the Senator today, PETA’s president pointed out that Eight Belles was fiercely whipped in the final stretch just before the bone in her ankles broke through her skin and she crashed to the ground. Given that the joints of the young horses used in these races are not yet fully formed, this kind of accident is inevitable, and the expressions of surprise about this incident from within the horseracing industry are utterly fake. In her letter to the Senator—which points out that Eight Belles is just one out of a long list of horses who have broken their legs and had to be killed throughout the history of the Triple Crown and the hundreds more who die every year in the horseracing industry—PETA’s president writes:

“Attending the Derby is as despicable as attending a dogfight. For most—not a few—of the horses you see will not end up put out to pasture on a beautiful ranch but will be sent overseas to be slaughtered for someone’s dinner plate. At some point, all horses stop winning.”

The letter asks Clinton to withdraw her public support of horseracing, and condemn the cruel “sport” instead.

I should point out here that PETA is a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to stopping the exploitation and abuse of animals. PETA’s condemnation of Hillary Clinton for betting on horses and its request that she denounce horseracing are in no way intended as intervention in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for political office.

Here’s the letter:

Dear Senator Clinton:

As a high profile political figure with the esteem of many women, I regret to say that your public support of horseracing—and specifically betting on Eight Belles—makes you culpable in her destruction. I ask you now to publicly condemn races like the Kentucky Derby. Eight Belles ran for her life and was fiercely whipped as she came down that final stretch when she was no doubt in a great deal of pain. We cannot call ourselves a civilized nation if we allow any living being to endure such abuse.

Races like this are the equivalent of child sweatshops. These are not even seasoned horses: They are young fillies and colts whose joints are not formed enough to endure such a grueling race. Despite this, they are pushed beyond their limits. The Triple Crown and other major horse races have become the graveyards of too many horses who were called champions. For example, Go For Wand, who went down in the 1990 Breeders’ Cup Distaff and then stumbled up and tried to keep running with her broken leg dangling; Union City, who fractured a leg in the 1993 Preakness and was destroyed; Prairie Bayou, who that same year suffered a compound fracture in the Belmont Stakes and had to be destroyed; George Washington, who was euthanized after breaking his leg while running the Preakness last year; and of course Barbaro, the “poster horse” of the racing industry’s failures and excesses, who despite efforts could not be saved from the injuries sustained during the 2006 Preakness. Barbaro’s injuries were terrible—fractures of his canon bone, sesamoids, and long pastern as well as the dislocation of the fetlock joint. These are just a few of the horses we hear about—they are the winners, the horses who run the big races. Hundreds of horses meet the same painful, deadly fate every year in the horseracing industry.A race track is not a place for a fun day out, and we are writing to Chelsea on that score. Attending the Derby is as despicable as attending a dogfight. For most—not a few—of the horses you see will not end up put out to pasture on a beautiful ranch but will be sent overseas to be slaughtered for someone’s dinner plate. At some point, all horses stop winning.

PETA takes no position on whether you win or lose the race you are in, but we call on you to publicly reject betting on such hideous spectacles of domination over wonderful animals who deserve more than pain and death for human profit and amusement.

Very truly yours,

Ingrid E. Newkirk

Commenting is closed.
  • Steph says:

    George Washington never ran in the Preakness. He raced in England. Get the right facts before sending a letter. And did anyone watch Eight Belles’ ankles in the race or just her head going to the side. Maybe people should watch her legs when they hit the ground because it looked fine to me. But who am I to judge. I’ve only been around horses for 5 years. Oh well I’ll let the people who know nothing about horses judge this.

  • S.Q. says:

    Wait…dog fighting. You mean the sport where dogs try to kill eachother? Wow that is so close to horse racing what a great analogy. If horse racing is exactly like dog fighting per se why is it legal? Oh right…it shouldn’t be legal because once in a while there is an accident. And those big meanies! They put the racehorse down in front of all those people! What happened to Eight Belles was terrible and the horse racing community is no doubt devastated to hear about this accident. No they are not cold hearted criminals who don’t care when a horse is hurt. People have hearts PETA! But obviously you don’t have brains.

  • JBRAD says:

    You people are so dumb when it comes to stuff like this. Open your eyes horse racin is not a business like dog fights. it is legal and legit. I own race horses and i love them im not cruel to them and unfortunate events like this rarely occur. I have seen very few events such as this in my many years in horse racing. Try bashing another business because this is what puts food on my table and this is what i do.

  • Tim says:

    I too agree with Zeeke and Hillary bet on horses?? WOW! So what? I kinda like her better now!

  • amonymous says:

    zeeke said “The premise that the jockey knew the filly was hurt and continued to ride is just silly. First he would have been committing suicide to attempt to try to continue to ride with 18 stampeding horses behing him and 2nd. you saw what happened when the ankles fractured the option of continuing to run was zero so the entire premise is flawed. I have been a racing fan for over 35 years and an owner for almost 15 there is no owner rider vet groom and very few trainers who would send a horse into a race where was the chance for catastrophic injury we all realize the animal is running for our enjoyment and profit we are not butchers.” I totally agree with zeeke.

  • Denise Catalan says:

    Dear PETA Although I am against the abuse of animals of all shapes and sizes and I try my best to help them However I am against false informationtruths!!! l when the horse fell after breaking its bone and they euthanized it it was not because the horse would not make them any more money its because the horse will not be able to live even if they took it to a hospital!!! And as long as the horse lived he would have SUFFERED!! So they euthanized him there and then to END THE SUFFERING OF THE POOR HORSE!!! Granted he should not be racing in the first place but we couldn’t have stop that. But at least they can do one good thing to the horse! But there was no way a horse can live after breaking a bone on his leg! No Way! Yes blame them for forcing the horses for racing in the first place! Yes blame them for being cruel! But don’t feed the public wrong information! Even if its as small as this! Because one small mistake or lie can have a big effect and sometimes it cannot be a good thing and that’s not something to risk! AND ABOUT HILARY yeah its wrong for her to bet on a horse but you have to think of it as her p.o.v. did she know what iswas happening to those horses? I mean I am a pretty big Activist but I just found out what really happens to those horses!! I mean I knew about the whipping but I did not know about the other stuff! you cannot blame her! And nor you shouldn’t put her on the spot light like that because of what she did which was only betting!!! She did not do the Whipping nor the beatings! And don’t make yourself seem like an angel because we all have made mistakes before and you shouldn’t put someone else out for doing something out like that when you know there are others who should be brought down!!! dont waste your time blaming Hilary when you should bring down the corporation who make those horses run everyday!!!

  • Sydney says:

    Animals should be treated with respect.Not beaten hard enough to kill them.