Petition to End Horseracing in NYS

We posted the following petition yesterday on We see this as another effective tool, a fine addition to an already formidable arsenal (protests, tabling, speaking engagements, media interviews, editorials, and, of course, this very website). And the beauty here is in its simplicity – sign and share. That’s it. Sign and share…

For far too long, horseracing has been given cover under the banner of sport, indeed “The Sport of Kings.” In truth, however, it is no such thing. If you dig deeper, if you look beyond the mint juleps and bugle calls, you’ll see that horseracing, at its most basic level, is but a simple vehicle for gambling. $2 bets. The “pampered athlete,” too, is a grotesque lie, for life for the typical racehorse is ugly and mean:

Commodification: Racehorses are literal chattel, pieces of property to be bought, sold, traded, and dumped whenever and however their owners decide.

Subjugation: The horse people thoroughly control every moment of their assets’ lives – control effected through, among other things, lip tattoos, nose chains, metal mouth-bits, and leather whips. Force and power; domination of a weaker species.

Drugging and Doping: Racehorses are injected, legally and otherwise, with myriad substances to enhance performance, mask injury, and numb pain. The horseman’s credo: Keep ’em earning, by any means necessary.

Confinement and Isolation: In perhaps the worst of it all, racehorses are locked in tiny stalls for over 23 hours a day, making a mockery of the industry claim that horses are born to run, love to run. As if not enough, these naturally social, herd-oriented animals are, as babes, forever torn from their families and, except for brief moments on the track itself or while in transport, kept utterly isolated. In a word, heartrending.

Death: Since 2009, when the Gaming Commission began to make these things public, over 1,300 racehorses have died at New York tracks – an average of 138 every year. But that’s just onsite. How many more of the “catastrophically injured” were euthanized back at the owner’s farm? How many more, still, killed at private training facilities? Nationally, Horseracing Wrongs, primarily through our unprecedented FOIA reporting, has documented over 5,000 confirmed deaths; we estimate that over 2,000 horses are killed racing or training on U.S. tracks annually. Pulmonary hemorrhage, head trauma, “sudden cardiac event.” Shattered limbs, ruptured ligaments, broken necks, crushed spines. What’s more, countless other still-active racehorses succumb to colic, laminitis, “barn accidents,” or are simply “found dead” in their stalls.

Slaughter: While the industry desperately tries to downplay the extent of the problem, cunningly flashing its hollow zero-tolerance policies and drop-in-the-bucket aftercare initiatives, the truth is, the vast majority of spent racehorses are brutally and violently slaughtered – over 15,000 Thoroughbreds alone each year. In short, it is no exaggeration to say that the American horseracing industry is engaged in wholesale carnage. Again, not hyperbole – carnage.

Horseracing is in decline, and has been for some time: Since 2000, U.S. Racing has suffered a net loss of 34 tracks; all other metrics – racedays, races, fields, “foal crop,” and, yes, attendance and handle – are also down. Moreover, a majority of tracks – including 9 of NY’s 11 – are being wholly propped up by subsidies – corporate welfare. Clearly, lotteries and independent casinos are winning the market, but politicians, swayed by industry talk of lost jobs and economic havoc should it be allowed to fail, keep sending lifeboats. It is unfair and horses continue to suffer (and die) for it.

Sensibilities toward animal exploitation are rapidly changing, most especially regarding entertainment. Ringling Bros. is no more; Greyhound Racing will soon be; SeaWorld, owing mostly to the film “Blackfish,” has ended its captive-breeding program for orcas; and, as you know, it will soon be illegal to use elephants for any form of entertainment in NYS. Why can’t, why shouldn’t, racehorses be next?

Governor Cuomo, be bold, set an example for the rest of the nation by moving our collective morality forward. End the cruelty. End the suffering. End the killing.

End horseracing.


Leave a Comment

  1. I still run into good owners who do right by their horses – those they are aware of. The fact is TB, QH, Arabs, Appys (racing lines) horses are overbred to use and feed the slaughter market – even the smallest percentage that it does. Then, there are the strata of horses who suffer abuse, starvation and neglect – thousands who do not make it to the slaughter plant but go through auction and into the wrong hands. Because slaughter is a component of the horse world, the value of the horses is lowered – to weight. The figures of horses in the US of 9 million or so belies the need for the slaughter market which “folds” slightly over 100K into the gruesome world it has created. Some countries punish individuals severely for the mistreatment of a certain breed of mule. The mules are that precious. Aren’t they all?

    Despite some universities professed care for the racing athletes, their agenda makes it clear that slaughter is an option they’d like to reinstate. For instance, despie the ban in California on slaughter – UC Davis advocates it’s return as an outlet for the “unwanted” horse. I just finished an online course on Equine Care and HUMANE Management teaching from a base of five freedoms that are given as rights to the equine. But still. Slaughter is considered.

    I signed this petition and will share it. Time for new prospective.

  2. End cruelty of race horses! The animals are treated fairly well if they’re winning, after they quit winning things change, it is just a greedy sport abusing horses! Horses are a huge part of America’s history, they still serve people in many ways, they should be protected, cared for and not ABUSED!

  3. Let’s keep at it ! — it would be great for Gov. Cuomo to take these words to heart ! — We have so many legitimate reasons to SHUT DOWN this cruel and unconscionable industry — so many ways to be entertained and enjoy life — we have gambling, casinos — all fine as long as NOT using animals in any capacity whatsoever. — Again, let’s keep at it.

  4. Gladly signed this petition.
    Furthermore, think about the millions that would go to essential community projects or a multitude of other essential needs instead of a percentage of casino profits going to these parasitic scums that exploit the defenseless and voiceless racehorses.
    Horse racing will end, and it can’t end soon enough for the racehorses because past the fancy hat rims are a bunch of racehorses suffering or dying on a massive scale to enrich the wagering coffers – bottom line.

  5. Patrick, I tried several times to sign petition to end horse racing in New York state…each time the action was frozen….it is important to have this petition up and functioning for signatures on Breeder’s Cup day!

    On Thu, Nov 1, 2018 at 9:15 AM Horseracing Wrongs wrote:

    > Patrick Battuello posted: “We posted the following petition yesterday on > We see this as another effective tool, a fine addition to an > already formidable arsenal (protests, tabling, speaking engagements, media > interviews, editorials, and, of course, this very website). A” >

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