Thank You, Governor Newsom – Now Please Take This to Its Logical, Compassionate Conclusion

Governor Gavin Newsom of California, in Monday’s New York Times:

“What happened last year was unacceptable, and all of the excuses be damned. We own that going into the next season, and we’re going to have to do something about it. I’ll tell you, talk about a sport whose time is up unless they reform. That’s horse racing. Incredible abuses to these precious animals and the willingness to just to spit these animals out and literally take their lives is a disgrace. The more you realize what’s really going on, the more intolerant you become of certain behaviors.”

First, thank you, Governor Newsom for this strong language – “unacceptable,” indeed, “and all of the excuses be damned.” But for me, the key phrase is this: “a sport whose time is up unless they reform.” Why? Because “reform” is impracticable. To wit:

Horseracing is inherently cruel and inevitably deadly. On the former, in addition to being torn from their mothers as mere babes, being bought and sold like common Amazon products, and subjected to lip tattoos, cribbing collars, nose chains, tongue ties, mouth bits, and whips, racehorses – innately social and mobile animals – are kept locked, alone, in tiny 12×12 stalls for over 23 hours a day. They are kept thus because as assets their owners are loath to risk injury in a more natural (humane) setting, and because creating and maintaining that setting would be cost-prohibitive.

As to the killing, and contrary to what the reformers would have you believe, death at the track is, has always been, and always will be a built-in part of the system: From breeding for speed (big torsos, spindly legs, fragile ankles); to working pubescent bodies (the typical horse doesn’t fully mature until 6; the typical racehorse begins intensive training at 18 months); to the incessant grinding of those bodies (if they’re not racing, they’re not earning); to forcing them to run at an unnatural rate (breakneck) through unnatural means (perched, whip-wielding humans); to the commodification (the average racehorse is bought and sold several times over the course of his “career,” making his long-term well-being of no concern to his current people) – horseracing guarantees a certain level of killing. Guarantees.

Then, too, slaughter. Here, I refer back to the governor’s words: “Incredible abuses to these precious animals and the willingness to just to spit these animals out and literally take their lives is a disgrace.” Fact is, the vast majority of spent or simply no-longer-wanted racehorses are brutally and violently bled-out and butchered in abattoirs north and south of these united states. (This is not simply my opinion; racing insiders corroborate here, here, and here.)

What’s more, Racing needs slaughter. In a recent article in HorseRace Insider, a pro-racing publication, the writer, Mark Berner, admitted the following: “TJC [The Jockey Club] will not support a slaughter-free industry because it will cost $120 million per year to fund the care of the 20,000+ horses bred each year.” Again, The Jockey Club, the most prominent and powerful organization in Racing, will not support a slaughter-free industry – and for proof we need look no further than its refusal to endorse the SAFE Act, a bill that would effectively end the slaughter of American horses – because it would cost too much to care for the horses. Imagine that.

But beyond the vileness, there is truth: Extended out, that cost becomes even more staggering: An average 25-year lifespan, an average 5-year “career,” and an average $5,000 annual cost-of-care means that in order to guarantee a lifetime safe-landing for each and every member of this year’s “foal crop,” the racing industry would have to come up with some $2 billion. That’s 2 billion with a “b.” And again, that’s just for this year’s group. The same would be needed next year, and the year after that, and the year after that, and the year after that. In short, the horseracing industry is deliberately creating thousands of horses every year for which it has neither the desire nor the ability to care for post-exploitation. Hence, slaughter.

In the final analysis, the only thing the “Horseracing Integrity Act” (or any other “reformist” legislation) would do is give Racing a desperately needed PR win, which, in turn, would likely help reverse its currently-declining fortunes – which, in turn, would condemn countless more horses to lives of abuse and premature, gruesome deaths.

So you see, Governor, “the more you realize what’s really going on,” intolerance of this industry’s very existence becomes the only reasonable and compassionate position.

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  1. Amen. On ALL OF IT.
    But, truly the best news of all about Gov. Newsom’s anti-racing statements is that the voters of California WON’T EVEN NEED HIM to shut down this horror show. Sure, it’s great that he’s on board with us. But gubernatorial-imposed “reforms” aren’t going to be what ends all California horse racing.
    It is — and will be — the WILL OF THE PEOPLE.

    • God Bless you Kelly,isn’t it true for so long now…California LEADS on GOOD KIND things. There’s a saying how California goes,so will go the rest,when they catch up. 🙏 I pray EVERYDAY for these innocents,who have been treated cruel by EVIL humans.

  2. Bravo. Where is the LA Times? I’ve asked the editorial department and I encourage everyone to do the same. Patrick, you have the list. Go at ’em.

    • I’ve been pestering the L.A. Times pretty consistently, too, Phil.
      On the one hand, they’ve taken the editorial position AGAINST horse racing, amidst the Santa Anita “crisis.”
      On the other, they still employ John Cherwa, their resident bloodsport apologist who softballs every meaningful question, attempts to excuse and minimize every horse death, and ducks out altogether when the news gets real bad. He writes their stupid column — I swear, this is its name — “Racing!” that their tone-deaf sports editors won’t cut, even in this current, disastrous environment.
      So it’s really amusing that the New York Times is the paper covering CALIFORNIA’S racing issues,and interviewing Gov. Newsom, OF CALIFORNIA, while the L.A. Times whimpers and hides:)

  3. Florida voters voted 69-31% to ban dog racing. Seems like CA could easily do the same to horse racing if it appeared on the ballot. In fact, I think a lot of states would.

  4. I think you’re right, Alan. I don’t know too many pro racing people anymore, and those I do are ones employed in the industry. And even some of them aren’t pro racing- they are just there because it’s what they’ve done and don’t know what else to do. They are the ones that fully admit the drugging is rampant and so are the sore, crippled horses,

  5. “In short, the horseracing industry is deliberately creating thousands of horses every year for which it has neither the desire nor the ability to care for post-exploitation. Hence, slaughter.”
    This business requires slaughter and they know it and that’s why they won’t spend one dime of their BILLIONS in profits to take care of them.
    They are not “born to run” as the industry likes to say – they are “born to die.”
    In fact, all of their abusive practices are condoned to fill races, but also to support the temporary mentality of using and dumping.
    Why would you care about the effects of your treatment of a disposable commodity?
    Not one of these human parasites have any intention of taking care of their racehorse(s) after they are done maiming them.
    Killing them is a welcome financial and burden relief.
    Many racehorses, as their PP’s clearly demonstrate, are sent out to die more or less.
    These racehorse abusers and killers know that they can do this with no punitive action against them and the industry protects them with investigations that lead to nowhere.

  6. They keep mating the sucessful horses from the track to other sucessful ones trying to create another Secretariat. Also the PR had reference to the governors stance on the industry and the retorts follow .


    I’ve been following this for a long time because this decision handed down by the courts solidifies the “decoupling” of horse racing in Florida.
    It’s a huge step to shutting this vile business down in Florda and it’s how Grey2K was finally successful with this route.
    In fact, if it weren’t for The Stronach Group Florida racing would surely be on the way out, but Frank Stronach has fought hard to keep horse racing in Florida with CEO daughter Belinda Stronach following in his footsteps.
    Of course the Florida HBPA strongly opposed this and, in fact, spent lots of money in the court systems fighting it while Florida OTTB’s were being sent to slaughter.
    Hardly people who care.
    It’s the exploiters and people who make all the money who want to continue the exploitation and this is one example of many.
    To racehorses: you have won a major victory in Florida and we will continue to fight on your behalf.

  8. “Against the law to use any live animal for gambling, betting or wagering for entertainment or sport.”

    California State Initiative
    Cathleen Doyle, Author

    Dog Fighting/Cock Fighting/Dog Racing……Horse Racing…..’Time’s Up’
    As California goes so goes the Nation….Save the Horses and Save Our Very Souls
    There IS NO ‘Regulating’ Indentured Slaves to Gambling!

    • Hi Cathleen,

      How many signatures do you have? When is the deadline? I can’t find it now but I recall seeing that you need about 600K.

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