After hearing from PETA, our supporters, and members of the Coalition to End Horse Racing Subsidies, New York state legislators declined to move a New York Racing Association (NYRA) money-grab bill forward. If passed, $450 million in state-backed bonds would have gone toward building a fancy clubhouse at Belmont Park, and this is the first time New York legislators have said “no” to the greedy New York horse racing industry. Read on to find out why this is a major win for horses.
The Racing Industry Is Horrible for Horses
Being forced to participate at New York racetracks is often the equivalent of a death sentence for horses. Since 2009, more than 1,600 horses have died at racetracks in the state, and at least 105 of those deaths occurred in 2021.
Horses who survive the races suffer behind the scenes, often forced to train and race with painful preexisting injuries that should warrant pulling them from competition. In the weeks leading up to a race, horses are often administered a cocktail of anti-inflammatories, pain relievers, sedatives, hormones, stimulants, diuretics, and muscle relaxants, either to mask their pain or to enhance their performance. This can lead to broken bones and death. Racehorses are the victims of a money-driven industry that frequently uses drugs to push them to peak performance and hide their injuries. They’re sometimes sent to slaughter when their racing or breeding “careers” end.
Take Action to Stop the Greedy New York Horse Racing Industry in Its Tracks
Although horse racing across the country has seen a financial decline over the years, the industry has been propped up in New York by more than $2.9 billion in state taxpayer funds and government benefits since 2008. (That’s more than twice the money the state budgeted for its department of agriculture in the same time period and 13 times what it spent on veterans’ services.)
A 2021 Marist Poll survey revealed that 91% of New Yorkers have no plans to visit a state racetrack and bet on horse racing, 5% plan to go once, and 1% plan to go twice. Residents of the state, not the 11 privately owned Thoroughbred and harness tracks, should be the recipients of subsidies. The $230 million in annual subsidies should be redirected to education. To protect horses and humans in their jurisdiction, New York legislators need to stop padding the NYRA’s wallet.