ownership turnover is a significant contributing factor to the welfare crisis
in the horse-racing industry, as there is little continuity and accountability
over a thoroughbred's lifetime. Owners often have only short-term financial
interests in horses and thus have a limited commitment to a horse's long-term
welfare. For this reason, tens of thousands of horses are shipped to slaughter each year.
thoroughbreds are bought, or "claimed," multiple times during their
careers. In "claiming races," all the horses in a race are for sale
and may be purchased and taken away by a new owner immediately after the race. These
horses relocate after each ownership transfer and are constantly forced to
acclimate to new people, surroundings, horses, and training and care
Most of the
breeders sell 1-year-olds by consignment at yearling auctions, many to
"pinhookers," who keep and train horses for a year and then sell them
again as 2-year-olds in training auctions. After that, horses may be bought or
sold multiple times during their racing careers, often through claiming races.
For example, from
January 1 through March 20, 2011, there were 2,096 thoroughbred claims recorded
at U.S. racetracks (compiled from Equibase records). One of those horses, the
veteran gelding Who's Bluffing, was claimed on January 28—it was the 12th claim
of his career, including being claimed three different times by owner Michael
Gill. In 2010, 14,805 horses were sold through the major thoroughbred auction
houses, and countless others were sold through claiming and private sales. The
Monmouth 2010 spring/summer meet produced 443 claims in just 50 days of racing—an
average of almost nine claims per day at Monmouth alone.
Because no one
individual is committed to a horse throughout his or her lifetime, each day
brings new uncertainty to these animals. Horses are bounced from one owner or trainer
to another, and they often undergo long journeys. If horses survive the
transfer process, they are usually confined to stalls unless they are training
or racing. Although horses would naturally graze and roam many miles a day
through fields, they are limited to a few paces forward and back in straw-lined
PETA's 360 Thoroughbred Life Cycle Fund requires a $360
ownership transfer fee, which would garner an additional $9.46 million per year
for horse retirement and to help prevent horse suffering. Urge The Jockey Club to adopt this
critically needed program today.
Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights? Read more.