10 (Unidentified) Dead Horses in Minnesota Last Year

The response to my FOIA request in Minnesota:

Dear Mr. Battuello,

I am responding to the data request you directed to our Deputy Director Joe Scurto yesterday. The information you requested is classified as private veterinary data under Minnesota law, Minnesota Statutes, section 156.082. This can only be released with the horse owners’ consent.

However, I can give you the following summary data:

1. At our licensed harness track, there were two horse fatalities in 2015; both were illness related and not racing related.

2. At our licensed thoroughbred/quarter horse track, there was a total of 8 fatalities in 2015 and we do not have summary data broken down by cause of fatality.

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  1. Why ?? If it’s not pari mutual involved how is the death of someone’s annimal any of your business ? Are you going to inform all of society when you have to put your dog or cat to sleep ?

  2. Laura, you are so wrong. Firstly, the horse racing business is supported by taxpayer money such as the racing commissions which are mandatory in order for a track to conduct business. Therefore, it’s considered public so the information is public. It’s required law to release such information. Second, dog/cat ownership is private. It doesn’t accept donations from the public so your analogy is inapplicable. Thirdly, the business can’t survive without the wagering public. It’s entire operations are financially supported by public money so the information falls under the jurisdiction of public. Fourthly, a dog/cat is not forcibly confined, beaten/whipped to perform, and has money wagered on it. Now if you know such owners of dogs/cats who do this, then they would be immediately reported for animal abuse, and cruelty. The fact that the horse racing industry gets away with this is mind boggling. I can assure you there will be a day when they will be held accountable in court for such actions, and not by the publicly funded commissions who have become a mere puppet of the industry protecting the abusers instead of the racehorses. Fifthly, the fact they quote that the vet records are private is inapplicable in the FOIA request. If this was ever challenged in court they would be legally ordered to release such names that they are now withholding.
    Aside from this, however, is a moral issue which tends to escape the people who exploit horses for profit. The fact that they look for any reasons to not release names just further confirms their goal of making money off the bones, back, and lives of a sentiment being.
    Anybody who participates in this business is part of the exploitation.
    Thank you Patrick for spending the time, money, and effort to be a voice for the voiceless horses as they lay dying in the dirt. Thank you Patrick.

  3. Can’t believe it Patrick! How thick are these people? The racing industry is a public industry sustained by the public and the welfare of the horses are open to public scrutiny.

    The horses sustain the industry but their sufferings and deaths are not in the public interest????????

  4. In relation to the letter (see above) to Mr Patrick Battuello in response to his FOIA request –

    Paragraph 1
    claims that these deaths were “not racing related”?
    Yet horses in the racing industry, in living the life of a racehorse, endure the following –

    pumped with drugs (both legal and illegal)
    beaten with whips
    confined in a stall for 23 hours a day
    breathing stale dusty air which often causes respiratory problems
    raced far too young when their bones have not developed to maturity
    worked when their bodies are sore
    racing when carrying pre-existing injuries/conditions
    injected with drugs to mask their joint and other pains
    forced to race when not up to the task
    suffering from stomach ulcers
    the list goes on…..
    and the above list is, of course, not exhaustive.

    Paragraph 2
    states “we do not have summary data broken down by cause of fatality”.
    Oh really????
    There would be a record of the causes of death for these horses, such record would reveal the names of the horses, the trainers and the owners, etc.

    Yet another classic example of the racing industry failing to be transparent, failing to disclose and failing in its obligation, responsibility and accountability to the public.

    The Government needs to step in because this state of affairs in this very public industry is unacceptable.

  5. The horse racing industry wants their cake, and eat it too. They want government funding (taxpayers money), but they don’t want to be held accountable for anything.
    The horse racing industry is dominated by a bunch of spoiled rotten men who are irresponsible like the guy who cooks in the kitchen, but never cleans up after himself.
    They create messes all over the country including broken bones, torn ligaments, drug addicts, and deaths of racehorses, but do little to clean up this mess they create.
    They make me sick.
    Another thing, I know for a fact that many racetracks cover-up for males who are hiding from child support. Many of the male workers in the stable area get paid in cash so that they can avoid their child financial responsibilities.
    Yet another little secret that they don’t disclose.

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