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Victory for Horses

Written by PETA | February 4, 2010
textually / CC
Horse Racing


In a landmark move, the jockeys at the Penn National Race Course voted last week to refuse to ride in any races in which horses owned by Michael Gill would be running. Jockeys only get paid when they win, place, or show in races, so giving up a job is a serious move. The vote came after a horse owned by Gill, one of the horse-racing industry’s most prominent horse owners, collapsed 20 yards past the finish line at Penn National and had to be euthanized. Gill has a long history of animal fatalities, and this was the breaking point for the jockeys, who in the last 13 months alone saw 10 of Gill’s horses be euthanized after suffering injuries during races. At long last, Penn National has finally asked the Pennsylvania State Horse Racing Commission to investigate the fatal breakdowns of Gill’s horses. And just this week, Michael Gill announced that he is quitting the business because of the boycott and the investigation. Good riddance.

While Gill’s case might seem extraordinary, the problems within the industry are systemic. Every year, more than 1,000 thoroughbreds die on tracks in the U.S., and this death toll does not include those injured horses who are euthanized away from the track or the 15,000 thoroughbreds who are sent to slaughter in Canada and Mexico every year.

Part of the problem is that injured and sore horses are pumped up with medications and painkillers to keep them running when they should be resting. Racing these horses just to squeeze out a paycheck leads to breakdowns and death. Because many veterinarians in the horse-racing industry are complicit in these practices, PETA is calling on the Pennsylvania State Board of Veterinary Medicine to investigate the vets at Penn National—especially those used by Gill.

It goes without saying that you should shun all horse races and urge the National Thoroughbred Racing Association to enforce breeding limits. As evidenced by the case of Michael Gill—who is only a single person in a huge industry—this is a matter of life and death.

Written by Logan Scherer

Commenting is closed.
  • Amy says:

    They should stop riding in ALL races! You shouldn’t be able to force horses to race!! Same with the rodeo! Let’s ban them both!!!!

  • Leslie says:

    I’m very happy that PETA is investigating this situation. The racing industry has been given a free pass for far too long!!! Luckily this industry is dying…not fast enough because of the money from slots that fund the racing purses….To everyone out there…if you know of anyone that goes to “racinos” tell them not to…that is what is keeping this cruel sport alive!

  • savy says:

    wow.. those poor horsies..

  • Mary Johnson says:

    As a member of the nonracing public I am fed up with the way these wonderful athletes are treated. The ban on Gill was way overdue. It is time for a governing body to keep an eye on the racing industry. There are simply too many “dirty secrets”

  • matt in chicago says:

    To all those saying “if” this industry is to continue “if” it becomes safer “if” this or that happens…NO. Time has shown us again and again that whenever man can make money off an animal and lets face it horses racing is all about betting and making money then man will consider himself first always and the animal lastly….no industry should exist that exploits animals and makes them work and perform only to be sent off to slaughetr when theyre too old or weak to make man more money…shame on all of you that think horse racing can EVER be anything but cruel. What will you be pushing for next…humane bullfighting?

  • Andre Inglis says:

    A horse owner will likely claim to care about their horse like a family member. What kind of caring family member would allow a female horse to be tied up and ‘raped’ for breeding purposes?

  • Marcelle says:

    Thanks for the article. More and more stories like this one need to be told. The general public is completely oblivious to the inhumane treatment of these horses and how many are euthanized or sent to slaughter each year. These horses are raced too young and too hard and are drugged up to hide the physical toll their bodies are taking. What happen to Barbaro and Eight Belles is more common than people think. If this industry is to continue there must be better rules and regulations for the welfare of the horses.

  • Marnie says:

    It’s really a good sign when the jockeys solidarize with the horses disregarding their earnings. The horseracingindustry is too victoryorientated bets run high and the horses get abused… not the first time we hear about unfair methods where is the aspect of sport?

  • Rad_Rosa89 says:

    Yay!! Now if only they would stop racing horses all together.

  • NT says:

    Any victory for animals is worth celebrating!

  • Jade says:

    This is good for the horses however I would also speculate that the jockeys are also refusing to ride for their own safety as well. Watching movies like “Seabiscuit” you can see the dangers to both man and beast in the sport.

  • Aneliese says:

    This is good news but there are still so many Gill’s out there.