Remember those stomach-churning scenes from PETA’s undercover investigation at a horse slaughterhouse? Horses, discarded by the racing industry, were slaughtered and hacked into pieces. On the heels of that horrific case, we went to the one organization that deals with every thoroughbred breeder in this country—The Jockey Club, which handles all foal registrations—and asked why the run for the roses had turned into a race for horses’ lives. We gave Jockey Club officials a detailed proposal for implementing and funding a real thoroughbred retirement program, the Thoroughbred 360 Lifecycle Fund. More than 32,000 PETA members and supporters wrote in support of it.
The Jockey Club paid attention. Today, less than a year after receiving our recommendations, The Jockey Club, the Keeneland Association, and the Breeders’ Cup, Ltd., have announced the launch of an organization—the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance (TAA)—composed of owners, trainers, breeders, racetracks, jockeys, horse-rescue experts, and others in the racing industry. The TAA will begin by laying the groundwork for the program. As we suggested, it will inspect every stable and sanctuary that wants to provide a home for a thoroughbred. The facilities that make the grade will be accredited. And then the TAA will raise funds to get the horses into those homes.
How You Can Help Horses
There’s much more work to be done, and it won’t end all the cruelty in racing, but making a lifetime commitment to the horses these groups depend on for their income is a good start.
Written by Kathy Guillermo