For Immediate Release:
September 20, 2021
David Perle 202-483-7382
Canovanas, P.R. – Several race tracks—including Gulfstream Park, Golden Gate Fields, Santa Anita Park, Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course, and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino—have recently banned trainers who transport horses on cargo ships, and PETA has sent a letter this morning to Ervin Rodríguez, president and CEO of Camarero Race Track, pushing him to follow their lead.
Transportation via cargo ship can easily turn deadly as temperatures soar inside tightly packed shipping containers. In its letter, PETA points out that eight horses died aboard a TOTE Maritime Puerto Rico containership in 2019.
“Horses are trapped with their own filth inside tight, sweltering containers for days at a time aboard cargo ships,” says PETA Senior Vice President Kathy Guillermo. “PETA calls on Camarero to bar trainers who treat horses like furniture.”
PETA—whose motto reads, in part, that “animals are not ours to use for entertainment”—opposes speciesism, a human-supremacist worldview. For more information, please visit PETA.org.
PETA’s letter to Rodríguez follows.
September 20, 2021
Camarero Race Track
Dear Mr. Rodríguez:
PETA entities have more than 9 million members and supporters globally, and I am writing to you on behalf of PETA U.S. to ask that Camarero Race Track bar all trainers and owners who transport horses via cargo ship. We also urge you to make horses who have been shipped this way ineligible to race at Camarero. Since a record number of horses are now being sent to Puerto Rico, it’s essential that you take action immediately.
Transportation by ship makes for a grueling, stressful journey for these animals, and all too often, they don’t survive. You may recall the deaths of eight horses on a cargo ship just last year as they were being shipped from the Port of Jacksonville, Florida, to San Juan.
The insufficient space and limited air circulation, which allow temperatures to soar inside shipping containers, can quickly become dangerous. High temperatures put horses at risk of heatstroke and brain damage.
Several tracks—including Gulfstream Park, Golden Gate Fields, Laurel Park, Pimlico Race Course, Santa Anita Park, and Indiana Grand—recently announced that they are barring trainers who use cargo ships. Other organizations, including New York Thoroughbred Breeders and the Florida Horsemen’s Benevolent and Protective Association, have spoken out against this dangerous practice.
Camarero Race Track has a responsibility to protect horses, and more humane options for transporting them are available. The track’s current success and record-breaking handle should make it simple to bar trainers and owners who show no regard for the safety of the horses in their care. Camarero already has a reputation for a staggering fatality rate, with an estimated 228 horse deaths in 2020 alone.
Thank you in advance for your prompt attention to this important matter. I look forward to hearing from you.
Senior Vice President
Equine Matters Department