It’s official: Just weeks before he was to race in the Breeders’ Cup, Big Brown has officially been retired from horse racing because of a serious foot injury. The 3-year-old horse, who earlier this year won the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness and who outran Eight Belles before she collapsed and had to be euthanized on the track after the Kentucky Derby, has now himself succumbed to the dangers of horse-racing. Honestly, Big Brown’s retirement isn’t even remotely shocking, given that horses who race are often forced to run before their legs have fully matured.
Unfortunately, retirement from racing for a horse who has developed injuries or is no longer fast enough to complete usually means a lifetime of breeding or a one-way trip to the slaughterhouse.
PETA immediately sent a letter to officials to ask that Big Brown be gelded and fully retired, not held at stud to breed and pass along the traits of a horse who has sustained several injuries throughout his racing career. You can view our full letter here.
Horse racing has always been a greedy, money-hungry industry with little regard for the animals it puts in harms way, so long as the horses continue to bring in the big bucks. Fortunately though, laws are changing to help protect these horses. Side whipping as well as “Snapper” whips, which are used in harness racing, have both been banned. Anabolic steroids have been banned from racing, and Maryland recently banned the use of all steroids. But we still have a long way to go to shut down all horse-racing venues and to remove these animals from lives plagued by injury.
Written by Jennifer Cierlitsky