Moral Progress Cannot Be Stopped

Racing is set to hold the latest in what feels like an endless stream of take-stock-of-our-industry conferences this December in Arizona. The “Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming” will feature the usual fare – “cultivating customer loyalty,” finding “new wagering products” to help “grow the sport,” improving “medication and substance integrity,” etc. – but one item on the docket stands out as not just atypical for events like this but downright game-changing. On the final day, comes this:

The Animal Rights Agenda: An Issue That Can No Longer Be Ignored

Animal rights protesters were found in large numbers outside racing’s two most iconic tracks this summer, Saratoga and Del Mar, and they aren’t going away. Is there any middle ground racing can find with these groups? Panelists with years of experience dealing with these types of groups will enlighten the audience of tactics these organizations use, some successful campaigns used against them as well as the animal rights groups successes that have fundamentally changed the way a number of animal industries operate. Now is the time for racing to seriously consider how the actions of these groups may forever change the face of the sport.

Remarkable. Truly remarkable. First, the obvious: We’re winning; the above is proof-positive. By our numbers, which we plan on growing exponentially next summer, through unrelenting exposure, we have compelled them to confront us – to put us on the agenda. (And, not so gently nudged the media: Because our protests practically demanded coverage, for the first time in 150 years the killing at “iconic” Saratoga received more than a mere glossing over.) From here, as any student of the great social-justice movements can tell you, the writing is on the wall. You see, these things don’t just fade away; they get stronger and stronger and stronger, until – change.

Here, though, I want to be crystal clear on the change we seek (and perhaps aid in the planning of future “symposiums”). There is no “middle ground” to be had. We are not looking for a mere seat at the table or to “change the face of the sport”; we want the table gone, the “sport” erased. No compromise, no reform – an end to horseracing, pure and simple. And I can save them even more time. Our “tactics” are neither elaborate nor, for that matter, even plural. In this fight, we wield but one, simple tool: education. Impart knowledge; let compassion and conscience take it from there.

Finally, I almost find it astounding that they would make public their plan to identify “campaigns” to use against us. Insulting, really, as if we’re not sophisticated enough to do anything more than hold placards, incapable of monitoring their activities. Or maybe they just don’t care. Maybe the threat we pose, though they concede as real, does not rise to some requisite level of seriousness that would warrant more secrecy. No matter, the upshot remains the same. Attempts to discredit, to smear, to muddle our message, to repackage their century-old lie of a message – horseracing is a sport, the horses “athletes” – will not work, for we are smart; we are organized; but above all, we have the facts – the truth – on our side. And truth, folks, is irrepressible.

Yes, sensibilities in regard to animals are changing: Ringling has retired its elephants; SeaWorld is phasing-out its orcas; “vegan” is no longer an alien word. Is it so hard, then, to imagine a world where horses are no longer beaten, maimed, and killed for $2 bets? I think not. And judging by the above, I believe the racing people can see it, too.


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  1. Patrick,

    Do I have your permission to cross-post this in full. If not that’s okay. I can give a teaser with a link back to your site for the rest.

    We track these things and people actually “continue reading” about 25% of the time.

    I am not trying to persuade you one way or the other. Just giving you a friendly “heads up” in case it matters to you.

    Thank you for your consideration. Best, Vivian.

    On Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 8:11 AM, Horseracing Wrongs wrote:

    > Patrick Battuello posted: “Racing is set to hold the latest in what feels > like an endless stream of take-stock-of-our-industry conferences this > December in Arizona. The “Global Symposium on Racing & Gaming” will feature > the usual fare – “cultivating customer loyalty,” finding “” >

  2. Once again, a HRW post moves me to tears – but this time, the tears are not over another abused horse that waits for help or is already beyond it. No, in this moment, the tears are those of gratitude. Firstly, to Patrick – I SIMPLY CANNOT thank him enough for his tenacious and compassionate leadership of this necessary movement. I truly believe the industry’s ever-increasing panic is due to this site. Thank you, THANK YOU, Patrick – you are an amazing human being.

    Secondly, but just as deep, my gratitude goes to those who share this cause and find your hearts broken again and again and again over the truths that Patrick discovers and exposes on HRW. Without YOU, his work would not have the far-reaching impact that it does. Thank you…all of you. My sometimes sinking spirit is buoyed by each and every one of you.

    Let’s battle on!

    • Thank you, Joy, and your incredible input is amazing and I’m in awe of each and every comment you make. It sure inspires me to keep at it.

      Yes there certainly are days of despair but they’re soon overcome with determination and strength to expose, inform and educate as to what really goes on with these racehorses.

      We are unstoppable.

  3. As a horse owner for many years, I am saddened beyond words over the way the racing industry cripples, tortures, torments and kills these noble, loyal, magnificent creatures. Forty years ago, I knew that riding two year old horses was the wrong thing to do; I just didn’t know how many are killed because of it, along with the drugging, doping and whipping. Not only is it only morally wrong, as a police officer who specialized in animal cruelty cases for over 26 years, I know that it’s illegal.
    The news media has to stop being evasive when it comes to reporting the truth about what goes on in racing, and it’s time for our legal system to investigate this criminal enterprise.

    • Spot on, Sue. On the important points you’ve raised: the media, generally speaking, is failing in its duty to report on the racing industry’s dark ugly secrets – the public has the right to know. And, in my view, it is incumbent upon the Government to conduct an Inquiry into the horseracing industry.

  4. The horses that ‘run’ to their deaths on race tracks each year(how many, roughly 2,000?) are running because their so called ‘person’ is asking/forcing them to. We are their voices. Most of them are juiced up, in critical condition and not fit to run, but they do, they try, and they die. Have you racing enthusiasts every stopped to realize that we so called activists aren’t the insane ones, you are. These creatures are of His creation, and no, I am not a Bible thumping lunatic. However, I am someone who is very certain that you have a choice to stop doing what you’re doing to these beautiful creatures or answer for it on judgement day. Good luck with your decision, it should be a no brainer.

  5. ps. Thank you Mr.Battuello, from a Michigan farm girl who was blessed with parents who taught us the value and precious life each animal brings to this world.

  6. “Panelists with years of experience dealing with these types of groups will enlighten the audience of tactics these organizations use…”

    I think this would be an excellent segment for activists to observe and take advantage of the “knowledge” being shared.

    Patrick, thank you.

  7. Thank you Patrick. You are part of the change the world is crying for (though you put it much more eloquently in your words).

  8. I am so proud of all of our activists (65 at some of those Saratoga demonstrations) who quietly stood holding signs being a voice for the voiceless. Three years ago, our opening day Saratoga protest consisted of 5 people. We Are growing and we will continue to grow. We will continue to change hearts and minds. We won’t stop, we cannot be stopped. We will take this industry down. Thank you all for your support!

  9. Thank you Patrick for another heartfelt post.
    Thanks for your dedication.
    Thanks to all posters who comment here – to ALL posters.
    Yes even to the racing apologists because you reveal, through your words, the delusional aspect of being an abuser, an enabler of abuse, or both.
    Abuse happens, not at the hands of a stranger, but at the hands of somebody who says “I love you.”
    Nobody needs to look further to see that this plays out every day on racetracks.
    Yes racing apologists you come on here and say how much you “love” the horses whom you send out sore, doped up to be whipped/beaten, maimed and/or killed.
    Even after they’ve given you their blood, sweat, and tears; filled your sales auction houses, and wagering outlets with obscene profits, their thanks is usually a trip to a kill auction where they are loaded onto a slaughterhouse for a perilous journey, and horrific death.
    Shame on you. Shame on you all.
    Our voices will continue to expose this cruelty circus, death camp, and corruption pit.
    This is legitimized animal cruelty that is a modern day slavery ring, When it shuts down the racehorses will finally be emancipated.

  10. All I can say is I applaud the work you do and the gracious service you provide for the horses that endure such terror and suffering. Thank you.

  11. *applauds* As an equine keeper/steward (who can own a living being?) for over 40 years now supporting nine, yes NINE, on a modest retirement income I am committed to doing everything I’m able to give back a fraction of everything equines have given me. Regarding the majority of the equine ‘industry’ since when is abuse and exploitation ‘sport’? Non human animals are NOT our underlings, those people that regard them as such are clearly arrogant in their ignorance. Disgusting!

    ~”We need another and a wiser and perhaps a more mystical concept of animals…In a world older and more complete than ours they move finished and complete, gifted with extensions of the senses we have lost or never attained, living by voices we shall never hear. They are not brethren, they are not underlings; they are other nations, caught with ourselves in the net of life and time, fellow prisoners of the splendor and travail of the earth.” – Henry Beston~

  12. This is excellent news! Thank you Patrick and everyone involved in helping these beautiful animals and being their voice.

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