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?