PETA’s Edgy Billboard to Circle the Derby: ‘Drugs. Breakdowns. Death.’

Horse Racing’s Widespread Drug Abuse Problem Is Focus of Provocative Student-Designed Award-Winning Mobile Ad

For Immediate Release:
May 2, 2013

David Perle 202-483-7382

Louisville, Ky. — Visitors to Churchill Downs will see a stark reminder of the dark side of horse racing this week as PETA’s mobile billboard is driven up and down Central Avenue and Ninth Street in front of the racetrack’s entrance all day, every day, beginning on Thursday and extending through Saturday, the day of the Kentucky Derby.

The billboard, designed by Temple University graphic design student Dana Mulranen, depicts a horse with a syringe-shaped blaze on her forehead and the words “Drugs. Breakdowns. Death. Horse Racing Is a Bad Bet” and draws attention to the misuse of both “therapeutic” and illegal drugs that the racing industry uses to keep injured horses running. As last year’s New York Times exposé of the thoroughbred racing industry pointed out, drug use leads to the deadly breakdown of more than three horses every day on racetracks across the U.S.

“The biggest tradition in thoroughbred racing isn’t fancy hats or cocktails—it’s illegal drugs that cause countless tragic breakdowns and the deaths of dozens of horses on racetracks every week,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA’s message to people who care about animals is that when it comes to horse races, don’t attend ’em, don’t watch ’em, and don’t bet on ’em.”

Horses who survive being pumped full of performance-enhancing drugs and being forced to run at breakneck speed face another threat: When thoroughbreds can no longer run, they are often sold at auction, packed onto crowded trucks, and shipped to slaughterhouses, where they are shot in the head, are hoisted into the air by one leg, and have their throats slit so that their flesh can be sold for human consumption.

For more information, please visit PETA’s blog.

For Media: Contact PETA's
Media Response Team.


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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind