The following letter-to-the-editor appeared in The Sun September 7 and the Press-Republican September 5:
This year, 58 horses have already died on New York state race tracks. Ten have died at Saratoga Race Course since April.
Horseracing is cruelty and violence disguised as sport and entertainment. It is predicated on the exploitation of sentient beings as gambling instruments. Horses are moneymakers in a morally bankrupt industry that disposes of them when their returns diminish. The idea that running is natural for these horses is a fallacy blithely repeated to reassure people of their right to participate in this exploitation, and to assuage their guilt about the subsequent deaths, injuries, and miserable, unnatural existence these animals must endure.
Racehorses are bred as investments and begin “training” at 18 months and racing at 2 years old, even though they do not reach musculoskeletal maturity until around age 6. There is nothing natural about horses being kept isolated in stalls for up to 23 hours a day, deprived of social interaction.
There is nothing noble in forcing horses, through violent whipping while perched on their back, to run at perilous speeds around a track, often in extreme temperatures, and in dangerous proximity to one another. They suffer horrific fractures, head-on collisions, pulmonary hemorrhages and myriad other dreadful injuries that lead to the same outcome – their untimely deaths at the hands of humans. Tens of thousands are ultimately “retired” to slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico.
The time has come to shut down this abhorrent travesty. Join a group like Horseracing Wrongs to educate, agitate, and advocate. Do not stand idly by while others bet on lives that are being sacrificed for entertainment. Do realize that the pain, suffering and killing of these horses make for a terrible backdrop to afternoon picnics in fancy clothes. You can like horses. You can like horseracing. You can’t like both.
Thank you, Christina.
This letter appeared in the The Patriot-News May 24:
Horseracing Wrongs reports 2,000 horses die racing or training on American tracks each year, and thousands more are confined, whipped, and drugged, suffering painful injuries. This figure does not represent the horses that did not make the grade because they were not fast enough, got injured, as the majority are just very young – or the rough equivalent of a kindergartner, and their bones are not fully developed. Horse racing is described as an institutionalized exploitation of baby horses. Those no longer [profitable] are sold like junk, in the back of the tracks, abandoned by their owners. The vast majority of the 15,000 “retired” racehorses are trucked to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico to be violently slaughtered and multiple thousands are strung-up and bled-out annually.
Horse racing is confinement and isolation, buying and selling, needles and syringes, bits and whips. And it is so very deadly. Hundreds more perish from what the industry craftily dismisses as “non-racing” causes – things like colic and laminitis, or simply “found dead in stall.”
The U.S. horse racing industry is engaged in wholesale carnage. Horse racing is an exploitation of a weaker species for $2 bets and frivolous entertainment. For more information go to Horseracing Wrongs.
South Abington Township, Lackawanna County
Thank you, Silvie.
This letter appeared in The San Diego Union-Tribune May 3:
The Union-Tribune asks if it is time to end or alter horse racing, suggesting that this “sport” can perhaps be cleaned up, as racing officials have recently opined, so as to become a safe enterprise for horses. But to accomplish that would require the elimination of greed, cruelty, stupidity and callous disregard for animal welfare – all of which are prominently on display in racing.
Horse racing is, of course, not a sport at all. It is a gambling operation with the animals bearing the mortal risks. And it is no mystery why horses “break down.” Equine veterinarians explain that catastrophic injuries are preventable but inevitable when the industry demands ever more speed in younger horses whose bones are not fully developed, whose minor injuries are masked with drugs to keep the animal performing and who are often viciously whipped.
This is not how anyone treats an animal loved and valued beyond its potential to make one rich. Spare us the hand-wringing and boo-hooing from racing officials about Santa Anita’s recent 20-plus deaths. About 2,000 horses are killed while racing or training in the U.S. yearly, and everyone involved in the industry knows it.
I have protested against horse racing at Del Mar for 30 years, and have observed that many racing enthusiasts are unmoved by the painful, violent injuries and deaths at the track. I ask patrons, “How many horses have to die before you will turn around?” My query is often met with a raised middle finger, but the few who answer tell me there is no number that makes a difference. They come to make money and be entertained; the rest does not matter to them, any more than it does to the breeders and buyers and sellers. It is all about money, and many admit it without shame.
It took many years for the public to realize the truth about the excesses and abuses in marine parks, circuses and dog racing, but these businesses are now on the wane and horse racing will eventually meet the same ending. Hopefully, in San Diego, the media will stop glamorizing opening day as the social event of the year, where a ridiculous hat is more newsworthy than the ugly truth about the racing industry. Meanwhile two out of three retired racehorses are abandoned, euthanized or sold to slaughter – the aftermath of two-dollar bets.
Abolish horse racing. You can’t “clean up” a mess this big.
Thank you, Jane.