Sure, some men joke about how to score with women, but the horse-racing industry’s use of stallions to impregnate tens of thousands of mares—in the quest for one big winner—is no laughing matter.
The good news is that thoroughbred breeding stats for 2009 show a decline in the number of horses who were bred. The number of stallions bred dropped almost 9 percent, and the number of mares bred fell 13.5 percent, according to The Jockey Club. Don’t misunderstand—there’s still a whole lotta suffering in the making. This year alone, more than 45,000 mares were “covered” (bred), which means that tens of thousands of foals will be born into the racing industry and face the risk of suffering broken bones, being drugged, and being abandoned, neglected, or shipped overseas for slaughter when they are no longer considered “useful.” Most of the slaughtering of U.S. horses takes place in Mexico and Canada: More than 100,000 U.S. horses per year are trucked to Mexico and Canada to be slaughtered (and more than 10,000 of those horses are thoroughbreds formerly used for racing).
The Kentucky Derby and other high-stakes races represent the suffering of thousands of horses—day in and day out, year in and year out. While the drop in breeding means that fewer horses will be born to suffer a lifetime of abuse, there’s still much more work to be done. Take a minute to check out our investigation into a Japanese horse slaughterhouse and write to the National Thoroughbred Racing Association and demand breeding limits.
Written by Karin Bennett