James Cromwell is known for his numerous film and television projects, including his Academy Award–nominated performance in L.A. Confidential as the sinister Capt. Dudley Smith and his Emmy Award–winning role as the even scarier villain Dr. Arthur Arden in the critically acclaimed American Horror Story. Yet James’ most frightening and heartrending role is his narration of PETA’s exposé on the blood sport of horse racing. What is touted as “the most exciting two minutes in sports” is actually the deadliest.
While spectators enjoy their mint juleps in over-the-top fashion, the horses are given drug cocktails to enhance their performance and mask their pain and injuries, and more than 1,000 of the “athletes” die every single year.
James makes this point: What if other sports had the same odds? What if three NFL players died every Sunday?
The life of a horse used for racing is miserable and painful:
- The use of performance-enhancing and pain-masking drugs is rampant in the racing industry. The horses are more likely to suffer from pulmonary bleeding and catastrophic injuries on the track as they’re pushed beyond their physical limits.
- While their bones are still growing and not yet strong enough to handle the speed of racing, the abuse of yearlings and 2-year-olds in training is commonplace, resulting in catastrophic injuries and often death.
- Jockeys have been known to whip horses so mercilessly that the animals’ eyes have hemorrhaged and they’ve sustained other injuries.
- Hard-packed dirt surfaces make it more likely that horses will break a bone. Equine Injury Database studies have shown that grass and even synthetic surfaces are far less likely to result in injuries.
- Owners in constant search of the next Triple Crown winner force winning horses to breed excessively, hoping for their next big paycheck.
- As if the races themselves weren’t hard enough, the horses endure repeated auctions, serial ownership, and constant travel throughout their careers.
- Retirement equals slaughter. When Thoroughbreds are no longer making money, they’re shipped to Mexico, Canada, or Japan to be slaughtered for food.
The easiest and best way to speak out against this travesty is by not supporting these tragic events. Avoid everything related to horse racing, including going to the track, watching Triple Crown races on TV and betting on horses.