How Racing Retires Its Horses

Last December, The New York Times ran an article (12/8/12) on the EU’s growing reluctance to import tainted American-sourced horse meat. One sentence from the piece, though, is extraordinarily misleading: “Despite the fact that racehorses make up only a fraction of the trade in horse meat…” “Fraction”? A Wild for Life Foundation study found that 19% of the American horses slaughtered from 2002 to 2010 were Thoroughbreds. 19%. 19% of the 846,509 horses sent to slaughter from 2004-2010 translates to roughly 160,000 Thoroughbreds, or 23,000 per year. (Total racing refuse, however, is greater as Quarter Horses and Standardbreds were not included in this study.)

During that same seven-year period, 226,773 Thoroughbred foals were registered with the Jockey Club. In other words, on average, an amount equal to 70% of the incoming are outgoing via slaughter. Is there anyone left in racing who can still defend the industry’s “commitment to equine welfare” with a straight face?


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  1. to anser your (rhetorical) question

    “”Is there anyone left in racing who can still defend the industry’s “commitment to equine welfare” with a straight face?””

    NO. PERIOD, NO. The industry does not care about the equine welfare. We have to make them care!

  2. With the lack of government support of the racing industry the number of slaughters will again be growing. Canada’s yearling sales figures were abominable. Australia’s slaughter houses are filled to the brim. The Fasig-Tipton sale at Saratoga had many horses on the block who didn’t sell. These horses are the bottom of the racing and broodmare barrel. A friend who attended the sales yesterday said there was a broodmare up that had just aborted her foal. Nobody bought her. Already we are mobilizing to make sure there are advocates at Umadilla over the next few weeks. This has to end. People in the industry need to be held responsible for birthing to the grave for the horses that they bring into this world. They are not a product that if it doesn’t prove to “work as expected” you send t the scrap heap.
    On another note Horse Angels recently circulated footage of the Alberta Kill plant. Most of the horses who end up there are draft mixes who fare no better in this world when their useful work days are done..

  3. Publicity, publicity, publicity !! This industry will not change until it is forced to. As long as money and stupid ego are the driving forces, slaughter will continue unabated. These animals are discarded like garbage by the horse industry. The situation is sickening. I do wonder how the industry defines the so called “commitment to equine welfare “. I guess it is a feel good term intended to make us all feel better.

  4. I have been sending emails to Conservative Bruce Stanton for yrs. The Conservative Government of Canada SUPPORTS horse slaughter. Mr Stanton continually spews out the wrong info…this link is a blog done by an incredible writer & horse advocate…about my correspondence with Mr. Stanton.
    …I have not heard a word from Stanton about the lies he has told for yrs…he ignores every piece of proof you put before him…always research who you vote for…….

  5. I have found over the years that racing supports a culture of slaughter along with drugging horses and racing them with injuries. To change the culture will take years and years unless the general public says that enough is enough and they refuse to bet on horse racing. It really is all about the almighty dollar. We need to hurt ALL those involved with racing where it hurts the most – in their wallets!

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