27 Horses Dead: PETA Wants Los Alamitos Shut Down

For Immediate Release:
September 16, 2020

David Perle 202-483-7382

Cyress, Calif.

Following the death of yet another horse at Los Alamitos Race Course on September 13—the 27th death there since last December—PETA called on the California Horse Racing Board today to use its expanded powers under Senate Bill 469 to suspend the track’s license.

“California’s overhauled racing regulations haven’t stopped the bloodbath at Los Alamitos,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “If human athletes at a track were dying like this, something would be done, and state officials need to take action now, before any more horses die.”

PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, which is a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, visit PETA.org.

PETA’s letter to the California Horse Racing Board follows.

September 16, 2020

Greg Ferraro, D.V.M.

The California Horse Racing Board

Via e-mail to Scott Chaney, Executive Director

Dear Dr. Ferraro and Board Members,

Thank you for your service to the state of California. I’m writing on behalf of PETA’s 6.5 million members and supporters worldwide, 700,000 of whom live in California, including me.

The California Horse Racing Board has been working diligently to improve regulations in order to protect horses and recently discussed suspending the license of the Los Alamitos Race Course. It was decided that track officials would be allowed to implement policies to prevent deaths. Unfortunately, that plan hasn’t been sufficient. Twenty-seven horses have now died at Los Alamitos since December 27, and the time has come for a license suspension.

As you may recall, Santa Anita Park voluntarily closed after 23 horses died there between December 30, 2018, and March 31, 2019. During this closure, Santa Anita and the CHRB began implementing significant changes. In our view, there is much more to be done, but the acknowledgement that change was needed and that horses’ and jockeys’ lives shouldn’t be risked during the process was crucial. It’s apparent that Los Alamitos officials will not follow this example, so we ask the board to use its expanded powers under Senate Bill 469.

We further request that the investigations into racing and training deaths be made public by the board. In 2019, CHRB representatives told PETA that every death would be thoroughly investigated and that interviews with trainers, owners, jockeys, veterinarians, and others would be conducted in each case. Action to protect horses would then follow. While the 2018–19 Postmortem Examination Program has been released, as have the Santa Anita Fatalities Reports—from which the horses’ identifying information has been redacted—it appears that no investigation results have yet been made public. Are investigations ongoing? Have any actions been taken as a result of the findings? If so, will you be releasing these?

Finally, we renew our request that the board take action to facilitate the immediate suspension of trainers’ licenses when necessary. PETA worked with former Board President Chuck Winner and former Executive Director Rick Baedeker on a variety of areas, and this was something that they were actively pursuing.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Kind regards,

Kathy Guillermo

Senior Vice President

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