Recently I read that the FDA has a number of rat feces and spiders that it deems is acceptable to be in my food. The FDA has number that it believes is acceptable to the industry, and I have a number that I believe is acceptable to be in my food.
My number is zero.
The horseracing industry has a number of horses who die on the track that it deems is acceptable. They have a number of horse casualties that they believe is acceptable, and I have a number of dead horses I believe is acceptable.
My number is zero.
The question is why isn’t their number zero?
The main issue that I see with horse racing is that, for some reason, the trainers and the owners and even the fans accept that there are a certain number of horses who will die on the track every year- and this number continues to grow. For some reason, their defense is that the sport is inevitably going to kill horses.
Why? Why do people accept that?
We can point out that horses are raced too young, that when they aren’t fast enough they are thrown away at auction, and that they often end up at the slaughterhouse. Instead of standing up and saying, “You are right! This should be stopped!” the racing industry whines that not everyone does this. There are a lot of good trainers, we are told. We really love the horses, they claim. And yet now 25 horses are dead this year at Santa Anita racetrack alone- the most recent from injuries that are consistent with horses who are trained too young and too strenuously.
The simple truth is that Hanaeleh and other animal rights advocates should not be the ones clamoring the loudest for the racing industry to find a way to reduce or eliminate the deaths of these horses. Rather, the industry itself should be outraged.
The horse racing industry has to start acknowledging that these deaths are not acceptable, and, instead of defending these fatal injuries as a byproduct the sport, the industry should be proactively working to find a way to eliminate them. The rescues and animal rights groups should not be the ones leading the cause to make racing safer for horses- instead, the owners and the trainers- the people who claim that they love horses- should be the ones doing everything possible to eliminate these deaths.
Unfortunately, the industry has shown that it cannot and will not regulate itself, and will continue to dope horses for the purpose of both making horses run faster- and to mask painful injuries. Everyone needs to contact their representatives to ask them to pass HR 1754- The Horseracing Integrity Act of 2019. The bipartisan bill is supported by a number of different racing groups- and yet, the previous version of the bill languished in committee without so much as a vote. Until there is enough public support for this bill- from both animal advocates and racing enthusiasts alike- this will not pass, and more horses will die.
Horse racing enthusiasts cannot continue to presume that horse deaths are acceptable in horse racing. If owners, trainers and the public cannot find a way to regulate this “sport” to find a way to greatly reduce or eliminate horse deaths, then we need to stop racing horses. The deaths of these animals are not worth the entertainment value of humans.