Racing Writer Renounces Industry, and Says This on His Way Out: “A Great Number of Industry People Favor Slaughter”

In a column in HorseRace Insider Tuesday, (racing) journalist and lifelong handicapper Mark Berner renounced his beloved “sport” – yes, renounced, as in he’s done. And here are some of his reasons why:

“The horseracing industry runs on a pack of lies, a bunch of swindles, hidden information, and many corrupt and illegal activities for the love of money, not for love of the horse.”

“I will no longer support a fractured industry of disparate alphabet organizations now guided by greed. You have killed the game for me.”

“It does not matter if you knew Mongolian Groom. I did not. But I did know horses now buried in infields of racetracks and in Claire Court at Saratoga Race Course. I walked shedrows and I pet them on their heads. Now they are dead. It has happened a thousand times before and will again.”

“It happened slowly over the past few years as I wrote about rescue, slaughter and drugs. What put me off most is the great number of industry people who favor the latter two.”

“The game is rigged at every level, with rampant cheating its finest art form.”

“I am done supporting a sport that kills its stars.”

Just a few questions, Mr. Berner. You admit to it – dead horses – “happen[ing] a thousand times before,” with horses “buried in infields of racetracks” the country over – and yet it has taken you this long, 44 years, to get out? Or are you suggesting that this – dead horses – is but a recent thing? Please.

What “put [you] off most is the great number of industry people who favor [slaughter]”? “Put you off”? Not revolt you to your core? Nonetheless, thank you for the quote. It’ll make a great addition to this list.

And finally, you are deluding yourself if you think there was a golden age of horseracing; age, as in the inexorable aging of the human brain, has a way of doing that (“I remember when…”). Horseracing is animal exploitation, animal cruelty, and animal killing. Ever it was, and ever it will be (until, that is, we send it to the same ash heap in which Ringling Bros. currently resides). So again, thank you for hammering one more nail by getting out so very publicly. Would that others of your ilk – old men fervently and desperately clutching their DRFs – follow suit. (As Berner was managing editor and “one-third of its staff,” this might be the end for HorseRaceInsider – “The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing” – too. ‘Twas a good day indeed.)

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  1. This is huge! Please don’t put him down for any reason. He is aware now and that is what counts!!

    On Thu, Dec 5, 2019 at 7:20 AM Horseracing Wrongs wrote:

    > Patrick Battuello posted: “In a column in HorseRace Insider Tuesday, > (racing) journalist and lifelong handicapper Mark Berner renounced his > beloved “sport” – yes, renounced, as in he’s done. And here are some of his > reasons why: “The horseracing industry runs on a pack of lies, ” >

  2. Congratulations to Mark Berner for changing his mind about being involved in the horseracing industry and speaking out against the rigging, cheating, lack of regard for horses’ lives, drugs, and slaughter.

    If Steve Asmussen ever gets a conscience and becomes concerned about horses’ lives, I will be so surprised!
    Instead of reforming himself, he has an attorney to appeal his recent fines and suspension. His lawyer has the audacity to refer to Asmussen as a “stand up guy” because supposedly his appeal would make it so the other humans with a trainer’s license could administer more drugs without paying a veterinarian and without fear of penalties or suspensions.

    What a nauseating thing; to read about grown men violating the drug rules and appealing the penalties and suspensions and being put up on a pedestal as some type of hero. He is a criminal! Asmussen is NOT a hero!

    • Same here! Selfishly, that last Derby series was a needed shot in my retracting arm: DQ, Horse held in gate, Sorry, Prior year Superstar (forgot failed drug testing, Blame on the lesser known guy; were bad enough. The Santa Anita mess, anyone with eyes could see early on (We dummy’s sat at the track asking why it looked so bad BEFORE all the deaths. Along with the absolute disrespect, disregard, and mistreatments on track from personnel and policy (of die hard fans)! I missed my first Breeder’s Cup since inception, I don’t know the results! But, I had many great business meetings, and met many people with a lot of disposable income, I would not have otherwise (many are out also). Maybe the next generation of broke, non-lifers, will support the industry.

  3. Thank You Mark Berner – you sir have DONE THE RIGHT THING for the INNOCENT ANIMALS THAT ARE BEING ABUSED, USED, TORTURED, ARE HAVING COPIOUS AMOUNTS OF LETHAL DRUGS INJECTED INTO EVERY BODY PART OF THEIR SKELETON & INTO THEIR VEINS ( MAINLINING), RIGHT BEFORE RACE TIME, THESE ARE A GROUP ( RACING INSIDERS/ sociopaths ), I QUIT THE BUSINESS MANY MANY MOONS AGO, when I saw it for what it was, THIS SICKNESS THAT IS RAMPANT BEYOND BELIEF throughout the entire industry ( except for jockeys, people think they are privy to this information on the horses they ride, they are NOT. Facts are, most don’t speak fluent English. they are Mexican or Spanish & the jockeys HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEIR MAGNIFICENT ATHLETES ARE SUFFERING ON THE Backside. I have known enough of them to know THEY HAVE NO IDEA, BUT FOR A TINY HANDFUL OF THEM & they have NO IDEA the extent of it, when i hear people say “jockeys are fixing races”, etc… this simply is NOT TRUE, they are athletes & yes they use the whips most jockeys use them to many excesses, this is also true, But they have no idea the largest % of them what their mounts are injected with, it is their LIVES THAT ARE AT STAKE out their as well as every horse & every rider if only one horse was doped but when 99.9% of the horses doped, NO the jockeys have NO IDEA> The massive corruption is by far the worst AT THE TOP & the trainers & the ones who TOP THE LIST ARE THE VETERINARIANS ( who take an oath, just like a Dr. “TO DO NO HARM”). The more of us that hit the SHARE button, the quicker we can end this breeding to slaughter industry, THAT is all it is. BREEDING TO SLAUGHTER, TORTURE, ABUSE, DRUG & WHEN YOU HAVE SEEN THESE MAJESTIC ANIMALS IN A KILL PEN JUST 30 DAYS OUT FROM A RACE & SEE THE HORRIFYING CONDITION THEY ARE IN, once proud & full of life, now heads hanging low in SUFFERAGE getting ready to ship out to slaughter, there simply are not enough homes for them, IT simply breaks you inside If you have one ventricle of your heart in working order. THEY MUST BE STOPPED.

    • Jockeys and drivers participate in race fixing every day at cheap tracks where cashing a winning gimmick ticket is worth more than a share of the purse.

      • Totally agree with you, Allen. And, these jockeys, though the majority are Spanish speaking, absolutely know they are riding sore and drugged up horses. Most of the backside workers are also Hispanic, and trust me- the grooms know when the horses are sore or getting their joints tapped, and they talk amongst themselves. Many of the jockeys also gallop the horses in the mornings. I’ve seen many hop off and shrug their shoulders and call them “a rat”, or, in their broken English, I’ve heard them say they were sore. And of course the races are fixed, the last few years have been prime examples of this, even in the triple crown races. Between the drugs and the obvious corruption- I wonder why thinking adults even bother to bet on races.

    • Just to be clear, Mark Berner is no hero and does not deserve commendation. Perhaps some have failed to read the entire post, but here is what I wrote about Berner’s statements:

      Just a few questions, Mr. Berner. You admit to it – dead horses – “happen[ing] a thousand times before,” with horses “buried in infields of racetracks” the country over – and yet it has taken you this long, 44 years, to get out? Or are you suggesting that this – dead horses – is but a recent thing? Please.

      What “put [you] off most is the great number of industry people who favor [slaughter]”? “Put you off”? Not revolt you to your core? Nonetheless, thank you for the quote. It’ll make a great addition to this list.

      And finally, you are deluding yourself if you think there was a golden age of horseracing; age, as in the inexorable aging of the human brain, has a way of doing that (“I remember when…”). Horseracing is animal exploitation, animal cruelty, and animal killing. Ever it was, and ever it will be (until, that is, we send it to the same ash heap in which Ringling Bros. currently resides). So again, thank you for hammering one more nail by getting out so very publicly. Would that others of your ilk – old men fervently and desperately clutching their DRFs – follow suit. (As Berner was managing editor and “one-third of its staff,” this might be the end for HorseRaceInsider – “The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing” – too. ‘Twas a good day indeed.)

    • Lexus, you have said it all! The greed from this sport is beyond comprehension. Has nothing to do with the majestic beauty of these animals. It’s all in their filthy money lined pockets.

  4. Thanks to Mark Berner for his long journey that has concluded on the right path.
    The entire horse racing industry is deeply entrenched in corruption as fact after fact supports this, but from my direct experience within it – it’s corrupt to its rotten core.
    In the midst of all this corruption is a voiceless, defenseless victim who is merely a gambling chip to fix races and most all horse racing personnel are gamblers and the poor racehorse is at their mercy.
    Dope to speed them up and dope to slow them down so that bets can be placed and money made.
    Dope to mask chronic and often painful pre-existing conditions to keep them flipping a buck.
    All of this doping going in in total secrecy, total lack of transparency and doesn’t follow the racehorse.
    Go gamble on an inordinate object that doesn’t feel pain, breath, eat, and bleed while snapping their bones-off or dying on the slaughterhouse floor.
    Go gamble, gamble all you want, but leave the racehorses out of it.

    • And then there are the videos of jockeys continuing to beat the crap out of their mounts even after the horses have pulled up with a life-ending injury. The last moments of those horses’ lives are filled with fear and pain and misery. I feel no sympathy for these people. If the jockeys refused to ride horses they know to be sore and doped up, those animals would not be raced.

  5. I may be naive, but I’m glad to hear those words of condemnation from an “insider”.
    Berner told it exactly like it is, a greedy business that kills horses daily, in stalls and on the tracks and by the thousands in slaughterhouses; where cheating and drugs are rampant; where winning by any means is all that matters and corruption reigns supreme.

    I do think people can change and it can take time. With time and age ones conscience can finally come to the fore. As I said, I may be naive….

  6. Mark, thank you sooooo much. On a personal remark…I’ve always loved the name Mark. And,this Mark,most definitely did the RIGHT thing.

    • Wow, Gail, I sense a bit of projection here. But you’re right, Patrick is nothing like the down-to-earth good ole boys that abuse, exploit, and slaughter thousands of sentient beings for profit.

    • Gail, I think the same thing could be said about you regarding the story that came out about you recently, which isn’t as cut and dry as the things Patrick has pointed out, but I commend you for presumably doing what’s best for the horse, even if you didn’t go about it in the most legal way.

    • Gail Ruffu – individuals who speak the truth – like Patrick – are frequently verbally attacked by those who hate the truth – like yourself.

      But the thing is? – if Patrick WAS everything he is accused of being, not one dead racehorse who was killed doing his/her “job” would come back to life…not one dead racehorse, discarded and ultimately butchered in a foreign slaughterhouse, would be resurrected.

      Accuse away – we’re used to it. The angry racing mob cannot refute the FACTS so all they’ve got is to attack the character, personal views and convictions of the individuals who support this cause. Racing’s desperation over the exposure Patrick has provided just continues to increase…and they’ve done exactly what we’ve expected they would.

    • Classic. Use this site for self-promotion of your “news” story, because you’re well aware that interest in every racing topic (except dead horses, of course) has fallen off a cliff.
      You could have just written Patrick the thank-you, you know. But that wouldn’t have proven controversial enough, would it, Gail?

  7. Years ago, there was a trainer at Beulah Park by the name of Reid Gross. He had his own barn, the “round” barn, on the north side of the track. At the time, I was a volunteer for CANTER-Ohio and all the volunteers knew that Gross sent his horses to slaughter when he was “done” with them. I only recall one time that he was willing to “sell” one of his horses to us and we were delighted, mistakenly thinking that Gross’s heart was softening. On one occasion, I remember him telling a couple of us that he would rather send a horse to slaughter than work with a rescue. He died a few years ago and I heard he suffered tremendously during his battle with cancer. I felt that his suffering was justified considering the suffering that he caused to hundreds of horses over the years and his death was a relief, at least to me. Oh, and I always thought that he had the most appropriate last name…Gross…because that was exactly what he was…Gross.

    • TY, Mary…I remember Gross well. And you might recall, as well, that after he was dead, horses were running with Reid Gross listed as owner.

      • Joy, I had forgotten that after his death horses were still being run in his name and his wife, Elaine, was listed as the owner. Do you remember the explanation for that? Was there a Reid, Jr?

      • Mary, that’s right! – there were horses not only owned by Gross after he died, but trained, as well!

        We never received an explanation. Big surprise.

  8. I get the feeling that so many long time supporters are discovering their conscience only because racing is starting to implode and they don’t want to be associated with the sewage seen swirling out of it. CNN is running a story about the trainers at Santa Anita being under investigation to see how responsible they are for the 37 deaths (of course they only count actual on track deaths), but if the industry itself is running the show then we all know where this investigation will go.

  9. I have to get this off my chest…2017,it was I believe, a nice 2 yr.old was racing the second race of his life, he had to keep checking because he was trapped in a lot of traffic,about two jumps before the finish line it looked like he stepped in a hole in the turf,like his front leg went weird,he didn’t go down but I remember thinking he better get Checked out real good. Trainer Victor Barboza sends him out to train on that same SHITTY turf of Gulfstream Park,and Gran Airspeed only 2yrs.old breaks down training. Now that trainer caused that baby’s death. I will forever hold that against him. What a g.d. dumbass.

  10. I agree, This is a man who loved the “sport” it has broken his heart and he chose to leave his career over it. He is being diplomatic yet feels strong enough to turn his life upside down. A huge personal sacrifice and commitment. He may not have used the words your prefer to hear but his message was loud and clear..

  11. Mark Berner you’ve become a hero to these abused animals. Thanks loads for speaking out. With much work and public outcry, I hope this industry goes into decline just as the greyhound racing industry is doing.

  12. Seriously this is a journalist that has a public forum and yet, you see fit to berate him. This is a huge step, he has admitted the lies and inhumanity of the racing business. This is well known on the track, in the shed-rows but to publish it in a journal! The racing industry- it is a business – has to change or disappear. Racehorses in Europe do not die of racing injuries as they do in the US. . We have to change our breeding programs, our training regimens our whole outlook of the wellbeing and health of the Thoroughbred . What will happen to the millions of Thoroughbreds in this country if they do not race? The owners will sell them all for slaughter. Maybe horse racing has to be brought to its knees before it will reform. If you love horses you don’t love racing is so true so I can’t watch anymore and pray each time the gate bangs open that they will all be safe and make it.

    • Your ignorance is stunning. Horseracing has always been a business. Horseracing has always killed horses (in fact, Mr. Berner admits as much – “thousands buried in infields of racetracks” the country over). As to “what will happen to the millions of Thoroughbreds in this country if they do not race?” What, pray tell, happens to them now when they are no longer earning their keep? Yes, slaughtered – by the multiple thousands annually. Berner has known all this and more for a very long time – for most, I would guess, of his 44 years in the “game” – and yet he continued to write about, bet on, and champion this vile business.

    • “Racehorses in Europe do not die of racing injuries as they do in the US”. I’ve heard this before but nobody has ever offered statistics because many European countries don’t keep track. If you have some evidence of this I would be interested. But I do know that England tracks race deaths and they have a higher death rate per start than the US. I also know that Europe slaughters more ex-racehorses per capita than does North America so I don’t think there’s anything better about horse racing in Europe. It’s the same thing.

  13. Mark, thank you for having the guts to put your name out there and call out these MONSTERS. A little late? Perhaps…but nevertheless appreciated!
    Mr. Battuello, “the truth”?? The truth is that this industry is wretched, profit driven and with zero regard for the equine athletes! Why don’t you continue writing about the “truth” and contribute to eradicating horse racing? It does not take a lot of courage to criticize but it does take a lot of courage to look the truth in the eye and make a positive change. Looking forward to your contributions, Mr. Battuello!!

      • You are absolutely right! I am not very familiar with this site but recently became a member and a donor because I adore horses. I want to see them alive NOT dead! I want to save them not see them disposed of like cheap garbage. There is no deeper connection than that when you look a horse in the eye and you bond. So you see, Instead of criticizing each other perhaps we should put all this energy towards saving our horses. This is what this site is about after all, isn’t it?? If our voices are loud enough and we are persistent and consistent enough, horse racing will be banned one day. Sooner rather than later….And for that, you can count on my voice and support.

  14. I agree Susan, it is rigged on every level and horseracing kills it’s stars and greed flowing and death rampant. I used to enjoy the good Sea Biscuit movie and would rout for them in my living room, when I discovered this immense exploitation I stopped watching the races on tv, little did I realize over the years what was really happening and when I did-I was done too. May all that died RIP and if we all raise our voices loud enough and put action and persistence with it, horseracing will be a thing in the past.

  15. Why is everyone praising this guy? C’mon people – 44 years and only now is he abandoning ship, suspiciously sudden now that all the ugly facts are coming to light and public opinion is turning against horse racing. The Nazis too had a “change of heart” and stopped killing – when the concentration camps were shut down. This guy just sees the writing on the barn wall and doesn’t want to get any shit on his shoes.

  16. Any kind of racing is horrendous. WHY do humans treat animals like this?? We have become sick to the point that anyone who harms an innocent animal in any way should be SUBJECTED TO THE SAME TREATMENT, then slowly killed. They should not breathe the same air as the rest of us. If all this is known about Asmussen, why has he not been arrested and put in JAIL under the PACT Act?????

    • Anne Elizabeth Alford Flippin, I don’t have the answer to that question but it is a very good question. I would like to know more about how the new law against certain kinds of animal cruelty will apply to horseracing people; owners, trainers, everyone involved.

  17. I am glad this guy spoke out. Any additional voice is one more against racing. However, let’s be honest. 44 years to put up with something that you KNOW is evil is an awfully long time to keep silent about it.

  18. SPEAKING OF THE SLAUGHTER OF RACE HORSES_

    Australian Horse Shatters His Leg and Dies in Hong Kong Race

    Posted on 28 November 2019 at 4:57PM by PETA Australia
    In May 2019, Australian-born horse Voyage King was lame in his front leg after a race in Hong Kong and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis in both his front fetlocks. Six months later, he shattered one front fetlock during a race and was killed.
    His last moments must have been agonizingly painful. But after his diagnosis in May, why was he racing at all?

    Unfortunately, this kind of injury occurs far too often on racetracks. During the last racing year, 122 horses died on Australian racetracks, most commonly because of “catastrophic front limb injury”. That’s one dead horse every three days.
    Tired animals are often over-medicated to keep them racing (and winning prize money) when they should be recuperating from injuries. Trainers sometimes use a regimen of anti-inflammatory drugs, painkillers, sedatives, hormones, diuretics, muscle relaxants, and other medications to mask injuries and enhance performance, making horses vulnerable to breakdown.
    Hong Kong has stricter medication rules than Australia does, but that didn’t save Voyage King. According to records kept by The Hong Kong Jockey Club, he also had substantial blood in his trachea after a race in September 2019. This is another fairly common symptom when horses are pushed well past their natural limits. Researchers at the University of Melbourne discovered that more than half the horses used for racing they studied had blood in their windpipes.

    https://www.peta.org.au/news/voyage-king-horseracing/?utm_source=PETA%20AU::E-Mail&utm_medium=E-News&utm_campaign=1219::gen::PETA%20AU::E-Mail::Dec%20%20E-News::::peta%20e-news

  19. SPEAKING OF THE SLAUGHTER OF RACE HORSES_

    Australian Racehorses Exported to South Korea Discarded and Slaughtered

    Voyage King’s story is tragic but far from unique. He started being used for races in Queensland, Australia, when he was just 2 years old and not yet skeletally mature. A study of 2- and 3-year-old Thoroughbreds used for racing found that 85% suffered from at least one episode of illness or injury.
    He was formerly known as Pure Luck and was trained by one of Queensland’s “leading trainers”, Ben Currie, who has been charged with several “serious welfare breaches“, including giving electric shocks to horses. He has also been charged with failing to report bleeding horses to stewards.

    Help Horses Now

    PETA Asia has requested an official investigation by The Hong Kong Jockey Club into why Voyage King was forced to keep racing despite his injuries.
    PETA and our international affiliates are campaigning for the better treatment of horses worldwide, including by calling on the Korea Racing Authority to implement a comprehensive retirement plan for horses in South Korea, where 97% of those “retired” from racing are slaughtered for their meat once the prize money dries up.
    People who truly care about animals are turning their backs on horseracing. The suffering will only end when we all recognize that animals are not ours to use for entertainment

    https://www.peta.org.au/news/voyage-king-horseracing/?utm_source=PETA%20AU::E-Mail&utm_medium=E-News&utm_campaign=1219::gen::PETA%20AU::E-Mail::Dec%20%20E-News::::peta%20e-news

    • It’s going on all over not just in America, but many American racehorses are now being sent to South Korea to die in the slaughterhouse there.
      It’s all so egrecious and disturbing, but here’s some of the latest:
      https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/racehorse-bought-for-240-000-abandoned-in-cork-barn-1.3889630
      Just the other day an excerpt from an article that appeared in the UKPeta:
      “Googlette, an 11-year-old filly, was killed at the abattoir in late 2019. Born in Ireland, she was raced nine times in the UK. After being sold at auction and shipped to South Korea while pregnant, she bore five foals for her owner – and the youngest wasn’t yet 9 months old at the time of Googlette’s slaughter. Three of her other foals are already dead, and the other, named Mile Queen, is currently being raced but will probably meet the same fate, as she hasn’t won any money in her last three races.”
      The people who did this to Googlette can’t possibly be human because in order to be a human being you must have emotional feelings in some capacity, but these people are actually parasites.
      Parasites just keep on sucking off of their host and dispose of them when they have no more life to give at least not to them and to do this to an 11 year old mare after using her to breed and foal is heartbreaking.
      Frank Stronach and Andy Stronach of The Stronach Group has dumped plenty of mares after their reproductive systems were expended by these people or they just didn’t fit their breeding program and I saw it with my own eyes in the parking lot of Woodbine Racetrack many IN-FOAL broodmares were dumped when they didn’t meet their reserve prices which is common for many TB breeders.
      So for them to proclaim they “care” sickens me even now their “reforms” are merely a response to public outrage and the fact that their dispostable gambling chips are finally getting some form of justice however minimal it is, but the only appropriate justice is to BAN horse racing in California.
      From coast to coast, from country to country horse racing is wrong – deadly, and vile.

  20. I WATCHED ON TV THE BURIAL OF SECRETARIAT AFTER HE/SHE/IT WAS SHOT BECAUSE OF A BROKEN LEG. MY HEART WAS BROKEN. THESE HORSES ARE RUN TO DEATH, OWNERS SAYING THEY LOVE IT, THE REALITY IS THE SPORT/ THE OWNERS, IT IS ALL ABOUT MONEY/THE MIGHTY BUCK. AND YOU KNOW WHO SUFFERS, THESE BEAUTIFUL HORSES!! SUCH A SHAME.

  21. Putting him down after he saw the light was a real cheap shot. As much as I like your work, your asinine short story attacking him says you are very short sighted. I’ve been in the game a long time as he has and I see clear as day how this can occur. Shame on you.

    • Shame on people like him and you who remain faithful to a “sport” that is nothing more than glorified animal abuse and exploitation. If public opinion wasn’t turning against horse racing, it’s a fact that people like this racing apologist would not suddenly be “seeing the light” and bowing out of the industry. It doesn’t take any kind of moral fiber to renounce something after it’s over.

  22. Ok, I’m new here and will likely regret asking these questions. First, I have owned horses most of my life because I absolutely love them. I’ve never been a real fan of horse racing since watching Ruffian go down. I guess that dates me. The business of horse racing has always been based on making the most money as quickly as possible without any regard whatsoever for the horses. If one was too good they had to bury it under excessive weight until they started losing or broke down. They not only start them under saddle too early, they run the hell out of them before their bodies are even developed enough for light riding. As everyone here knows, these horses are nothing more than a commodity that has value only if it’s at least placing.There has never been a time where the well being of the horses was even considered much less made a priority. So, on this front I’m with you. I knew there were deaths, but I had no idea how frequently it happens until following this site.

    My question comes from all the comments that condemn the “exploitation” of animals.I’m curious what all constitutes “exploitation”. What activities do you feel are acceptable for a person to do with a horse? It’s pretty clear that most, if not all here want horse racing shut down completely. There are absolutely no changes that could be made in the industry (I’m not saying they could or would make any meaningful changes) that would make it acceptable? Is it wrong for 2 kids to race their ponies across the pasture? Is it wrong to compete in anything on a horse? Do you consider all riding competitions to be exploiting the horse? There are bad apples in every type of competition, some have bushels of bad apples, and many are corrupt. Some activities pose substantial risk to horse and/or rider.

    I’m not looking for an argument or to pass judgment on anyone. I’m just curious where people stand these days. It seems like there’s nothing any of us can say or do anymore without someone else going off the deep end to force their opinion as the rule of law. I’m not interested in going there.

    • Thank you for writing, Linda. I am not a “horse person” (I have no horse background) so I’ll let others weigh in on specific horse activities. As to exploitation, it’s really quite simple and, actually, was already answered in your comment. For me, when an animal is used (exploited) for human gain – monetary, primarily, but not necessarily – or “commodified,” it is wrong. Full stop.

    • I’d like to try to offer my personal response to the question(s) you pose, Linda, because I *do* single out racing as the lone equine activity that requires immediate elimination. Without going in to a whole lot of background, let’s just say I’m a lifelong horse owner/lover, was the typical “horse-crazy” girl from very young, and was fortunate enough growing up to have parents with the means to allow me to indulge in this passion from an early age: Pony Club, low-level showing, riding lessons, my first horse real horse “ownership” at ten. This passion continues to this day — albeit with my own money;) — and I would never try to deny anyone (outside racing, that is) the privileges of enjoying their horse(s) as they do any other companion animals/pets.
      Sure, horse activities are intrinsically dangerous for both horse and human. We’ve all had injuries, throughout our riding lives. But when the same exact FATAL injuries occur OVER AND OVER AGAIN in every single *other* horse-driven activity, drastic changes in protocol and participation, if not its outright elimination, occurs immediately.
      Racing has forever had a pass on this, because racing EXPECTS AND ACCEPTS that horses (and jockeys, not-so-incidentally) WILL DIE, regularly and often, in the course of their young careers. Racing exacerbates, rather than mitigates, the likelihood of such fatalities via its exclusive use of obscenely young, drugged, whipped, and injured horses. The “freak accidents” that occur daily in racing will only occur one time in, say, a child’s equitation class at the local fairgrounds, before REAL safety reforms and restrictions are implemented by its officials. Such participants, parents, onlookers, et al. are rightfully horrified by accidents that hurt horse and human; they don’t expect and accept them.
      Conversely, folks in horse racing invariably react to a sudden equine injury/fatality by just consistently doing the exact same thing, in the exact same way, in the very next race. They close ranks, they shrug, they continue taking bets.
      Is there anything they could (pretend to) change that would make it acceptable for me? No.

      • In my opinion, they could change a lot of things about horseracing that would be for the safety and well-being of the horses. In fact, the horseracing industry people will never reform themselves. So, for that reason, horseracing, as we know it, must be suspended and banned.

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