PETA Investigation Leads to Big Progress for Horses Abused in California’s Underground Racing

Published by PETA Staff.
2 min read

In a huge step forward, the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) has just become the first agency in the U.S. to take a stand against unsanctioned horse racing following PETA’s groundbreaking investigation into this seedy underworld.

PETA presented evidence from our investigation at the CHRB’s meeting in December. We pointed out that eight “bush tracks”—unlicensed, underground racing venues—operate in California, and we called on the agency to take action.

PETA’s Strategy to Stop California’s Underground Racing

There was one big problem: The CHRB has no jurisdiction over underground horse races.

So we went after what it can regulate: the jockeys, trainers, and owners who hold licenses to participate in regulated racing and are also involved in bush track racing.

injecting horse

We were very clear: Anyone who shoots up horses with cocaine, meth, or other street drugs and relentlessly whips and electroshocks them for the entire length of the race—resulting in shattered bones and death—deserves to have their license to participate in regulated racing revoked.

PETA investigation of underground racing shows a fallen horse and jockey on the ground of a racetrack

We showed that action to end this cruelty to equines—almost exclusively Quarter Horses—is urgently needed.

The Next Step to Help Horses and Stop Underground Racing in California

The new regulation would prohibit a California licensee’s “participation in, or presence at, any non-recognized race meeting where racing occurred.” It will be open for public comment for 45 days, and then the CHRB will hold the final vote. This rule would set a vital precedent for the whole horse racing industry.

It’s huge progress in this crooked, high-stakes underworld of gambling, drugs, and death. Now we need every other state where horses are abused and killed on bush tracks to take action. Stay tuned.

PETA investigation shows a jockey with a buzzer to shock the horse they're riding

What You Can Do for Horses: Help End Underground Racing

All animals used for entertainment suffer, and horses need your help. Take action to stop humans from abusing, drugging, gambling on, and exploiting these feeling equines:

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