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‘Death and Disarray’ Found in Horse Racing

Written by PETA | March 25, 2012

“Death and Disarray at America’s Racetracks”—this New York Times headline says it all.

And the findings of the newspaper’s lengthy investigation into thoroughbred and quarter horse racing confirm what racing insiders have been telling us about their industry since Eight Belles died at the 2008 Kentucky Derby: Racing is a chemical-dependent industry in which too many people shrug off the casualties and turn their backs on the deaths of horses.

Now The New York Times has quantified the destruction:

On average, 24 horses die each week at racetracks across America. Many are inexpensive horses racing with little regulatory protection in pursuit of bigger and bigger prizes. These deaths often go unexamined, the bodies shipped to rendering plants and landfills rather than to pathologists who might have discovered why the horses broke down. . . . [A]n investigation by The New York Times has found that industry practices continue to put animal and rider at risk. A computer analysis of data from more than 150,000 races, along with injury reports, drug test results and interviews, shows an industry still mired in a culture of drugs and lax regulation and a fatal breakdown rate that remains far worse than in most of the world.

Our own investigations into thoroughbred export, breeding, slaughter, and auction abuses show that the racing industry in America has put the safety of the horses—who provide the industry with its income—at the bottom of its priority list when the animals’ safety should be at the top.

Our suggestion? Stay away from the track, and take action in our efforts to help these horses.

Commenting is closed.
  • Obseselultilk says:

    I used to read a great deal of books but now I surf the internet looking for really good blogs like this one to read. this was a good read thanks!

  • concerned horse lover says:

    This article unfortunately is written in a manner that seems to be misleading at times. Is it about racing in New Mexico or the nation? New Mexico is often referenced, however New Mexico does not represent the whole industry. Not saying changes aren’t needed, just that readers need to think for themselves and look at the manner in which it was written.

  • JT says:

    Good for PETA for standing up for horses abused for racing (and for the NYT for covering this story. Horse (and greyhound) racing are barbaric spectacles, which use up animals and then throw them away, often much the worse for wear — assuming they survive. Want to see running? Go to a track meet. Or, perhaps, buy a large fenced property and adopt a “retired” racing horse or dog.

  • Roger says:

    I was a horse trainer and jockey’s agent for 30 years in Toronto, Canada and am now retired. I still watch horse races, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to do so. Races at New York tracks this winter have been some of the worst to watch. For the blame to be placed on track conditions is a joke. The problem is clear – with the pool of race horses remaining constant and purses becoming more and more lucrative, some trainers choose to run horses far more than they should. Some are motivated by greed and others are simply unprofessional horsemen. Today you can see horses running up to four races a month. That includes horses that are under extreme physical stress. In some cases, horses are running two races within three days of each other. An example of this can be seen at a New York racetrack on March 24th, 2012 where such was the case. In another recent case, in Gulfstream, Florida a 10 year-old ran three times within three weeks. Between pre-race injections and a lack of rest and time to heal in between races, the quality of life for thoroughbred horses is becoming miserable. The stress horses feel can be seen at the gate in each race in New York. In most cases, it takes horses up to five minutes to load in the gate. In order to expedite the process, the gate crew are forced to drag horses into the gate against their will by their noses and ears. In addition, there is a man at the gate who’s only job apparently is to whip the back legs of the horses in order to get them to load. It is my opinion that the New York Racing Commission and Jockey Guild should stop and think. Fans and spectators are leaving the sport in droves. Changing current practices just might help save a horse’s life, a jockey’s life and maybe even the racing industry itself – one of the greatest games of all.

  • Priyanka says:

    I am from India. I wanna take part and save horses from slaughter but I am not able to send messages as only people from States are allowed to take action. Please guide how can I help?

  • Dennis Carlson says:

    Why are any of these tracks allowed to continue operations? Gone are the days when we thought of horses as commodities to be run for our pleasure and profit. We know now that too many pay with their lives and/or suffer injuries only to be dumped to the nearest rendering plant, where they are slaughtered and die terrified and in agony. Stay away from betting parlors and the track. Don’t support this cruelty.

  • Elaine says:

    So sad. Animal expolitation is not entertaining. And many people just don’t realize that horse racing and horse slaughter are interconnected. I’m glad PETA is working to bring the issue to lights.

  • richie says:

    Brilliant article, crack reporting. And I know that PETA is on top of this issue, and thank you all. Horses are slabs of meat in the racing industry. Been there. Know it. Now the world is getting to know it.