Death at the Racetrack: It’s a Safe Bet

Published by Michelle Kretzer.

Horses who die while training or racing are individuals with names—even though their bodies are quietly hauled away like trash. Now, thanks to a new report released just days before the Belmont Stakes, we can see exactly who died on tracks last year. Racing watchdog group Horseracing Wrongs has compiled the first-ever yearlong report of horses who have died at racetracks in the U.S. The animals’ names and ages and the locations where they died are included. The worst part? At least 942 horses died on racetracks in 2014 alone.

It wasn’t easy to compile the report. Horseracing Wrongs’ Patrick Battuello examined thousands of documents and filed open-records requests in all racing states to gather the information. But because Kentucky and California rejected the group’s requests and other states omitted training deaths from their documents, the list is likely much longer. As the report points out, “What the industry refers to as ‘non-racing’ fatalities – colic, laminitis, ‘found dead in stall’ – have not been included. And, of course, this list says nothing of the thousands of recent ‘athletes’ who were bled-out and butchered in slaughterhouses.”

Every dollar spent at the track contributes to horses’ suffering. So skip the Belmont Stakes. Don’t watch and don’t bet.

 

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