“Death and Disarray at America’s Racetracks”—this New York Times headline says it all.
And the findings of the newspaper’s lengthy investigation into thoroughbred and quarter horse racing confirm what racing insiders have been telling us about their industry since Eight Belles died at the 2008 Kentucky Derby: Racing is a chemical-dependent industry in which too many people shrug off the casualties and turn their backs on the deaths of horses.
Now The New York Times has quantified the destruction:
On average, 24 horses die each week at racetracks across America. Many are inexpensive horses racing with little regulatory protection in pursuit of bigger and bigger prizes. These deaths often go unexamined, the bodies shipped to rendering plants and landfills rather than to pathologists who might have discovered why the horses broke down. . . . [A]n investigation by The New York Times has found that industry practices continue to put animal and rider at risk. A computer analysis of data from more than 150,000 races, along with injury reports, drug test results and interviews, shows an industry still mired in a culture of drugs and lax regulation and a fatal breakdown rate that remains far worse than in most of the world.
Our own investigations into thoroughbred export, breeding, slaughter, and auction abuses show that the racing industry in America has put the safety of the horses—who provide the industry with its income—at the bottom of its priority list when the animals’ safety should be at the top.
Our suggestion? Stay away from the track, and take action in our efforts to help these horses.