How did PETA help pave the way for the investigation that led to the conviction of dozens of veterinarians, horse trainers, and drug distributors who were contributing to or directly involved in the abuse of horses? Not only was our exclusive footage of the tragic fatal injury of Lost in Limbo used in a segment featured on 60 Minutes, “the most successful broadcast in television history,” PETA also played a huge role in exposing the prevalence of drugging in horse racing, urged action for horses exploited for the “sport,” and was a key voice in demanding that Churchill Downs be shut down due to the many horse deaths there.
How Did PETA Expose Horse Drugging?
Our 2014 investigation into top trainer Steve Asmussen paved the way for the passage of the Horseracing Integrity Act, which was backed and worked on by The Jockey Club. The club’s then-chair, Ogden Phipps, pointed to our decisive work:
Following the allegations raised by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) and reported on March 20, 2014, by The New York Times, many of us in the Thoroughbred industry are eagerly awaiting the final determination of these issues by the New York State Gaming Commission and the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission. … If the major racing states have not implemented [recommended] reforms, The Jockey Club will reach out to federal lawmakers who have previously proposed federal legislation for our industry and to other supporters of this approach. We will aggressively seek rapid implementation, including steps leading toward the elimination of all race-day medications.
How PETA Supported the FBI Investigation Into Horse Doping
60 Minutes also interviewed Jeff Gural, owner of the Meadowlands Sports Complex in New Jersey, which is home to a prominent harness racing track. Gural, who was behind the FBI investigation that led to the indictment and conviction of 27 trainers and veterinarians for selling and using illegal substances in an attempt to force horses to increase their speed, began his anti-doping program after PETA contacted him in 2012, for which he publicly credited us:
I want to make everyone aware that about a month ago I was contacted by Kathy Guillermo, Vice President of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) expressing her concern that they had received numerous complaints about horses at the Meadowlands being whipped and receiving illegal medications to enhance their performance. … I have agreed with PETA that once we resolve the whipping issue we would then focus on the drug issue as I believe they can be a positive force in getting the government, including the state police and racing commission to put more resources in place to solve this problem.
How You Can Help Horses Used for Racing
Many of the deaths occurring in the horse racing industry could be avoided if authorities would implement lifesaving recommendations from PETA, including banning the administration of medications before races, cracking down on trainers who have multiple drugging infractions, and implementing CT imaging to detect injuries.
You can help abused Thoroughbreds like those revealed in PETA’s most recent investigation. These very young horses—just 2 years old—become injured and, in some cases, die in what are nothing less than death sprints at auctions. Help end this nightmare: