Propping Up Horseracing at the Expense of Schoolchildren Is Doubly Immoral

Alas, a tragic truth: Hearts and minds alone will not win this fight. As long as Horseracing continues to enjoy obscene amounts of corporate welfare – a.k.a. subsidies – it will continue to exist, no matter how effective we are in shifting public opinion or in reducing the demand for the racing product. Our big challenge on this front, however, is that most people, including the politicians ultimately responsible for them, are utterly unaware of the subsidies and how they work. But that’s beginning to change, as evidenced by Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf’s recent proposal to reclaim some $200 million from Racing and redirect it where it was supposed to go in the first place – education.

The industry, of course, is terrified that this could become a trend; if it does, the bulk of U.S. Racing will fail, practically overnight. When forced to defend, the industry’s argument goes like this: With lotteries, casinos, and now “all-sports betting,” the gambling landscape has dramatically changed. Horseracing, they say, has (unfairly) been put at a competitive disadvantage and needs help leveling the field. Next comes talk of “tradition” and economic impact – “thousands of jobs,” ancillary industries like feed, hay, etc. Never mind that animal racing had a virtual monopoly on legal gambling for decades; never mind that their numbers are mostly pulled out of thin air. This pitch has heretofore been effective, for no politician wants to be on the wrong side of jobs.

Anyhow, rarely do we get honesty on this (which is to be fully expected as this industry’s entire business model is based on a lie: horseracing as sport). So imagine my surprise when HorseRaceInsider – “The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing” – admitted that this subsidy thing of theirs, once exposed, is unsustainable, a sure loser if tried in the court of public opinion. Recently, HorseRaceInsider’s Tom Jicha wrote:

“An existential threat to racing, more ominous than a distressing spate of horse deaths, reared its head again this week. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf, in his annual budget message, asked his state’s lawmakers to redirect more than $200 million of casino proceeds, which currently goes to his state’s horse racing and breeding program, to a new college scholarship fund. If the governor gets his way, purses at the state’s horse tracks would decrease by 90%. Pennsylvania HBPA executive director Todd Mostoller was succinct in what this would mean. ‘We would be out of business.’

“Even if [the proposal fails], this is not an idea that is going to go away. [T]he governor is playing a strong hand likely to be enthusiastically received by the masses. There aren’t many politicians who wouldn’t want to go to their electorate on a platform that if we take away money from horse racing purses…we can underwrite the higher education of 25,000 of our children.”

Jicha went on to cite similar dangers lurking in West Virginia (incessant budget problems) and New York (pension issues; “Gov. Cuomo’s disdain for racing”). But then the money quote, coming, I remind, from a prominent racing writer: “To be honest, I’m not sure there is an effective argument against the case Gov. Wolf is making.”

No there isn’t, Mr. Jicha. Preserving a declining industry, as measured by demand (handle, attendance), that abuses and kills sentient beings as a matter of course, at the expense of schoolchildren (or any student) is eminently untenable. In other words, the clock is ticking, and you know it.

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  1. Do you have the breakdown per state? If so, I can certainly make a connection in Michigan. If you could post all 50 states or which states are being subsidized, your followers could put pressure on their state officials. It could be another tool in your belt.

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    ________________________________ From: Horseracing Wrongs Sent: Friday, February 14, 2020 7:44:14 AM To: pjcingano@hotmail.com Subject: [New post] Propping Up Horseracing at the Expense of Schoolchildren Is Doubly Immoral

    Patrick Battuello posted: “Alas, a tragic truth: Hearts and minds alone will not win this fight. As long as Horseracing continues to enjoy obscene amounts of corporate welfare – a.k.a. subsidies – it will continue to exist, no matter how effective we are in shifting public opinion ” Respond to this post by replying above this line New post on Horseracing Wrongs [http://1.gravatar.com/blavatar/32425b722848333a8113d298f4b58f84?s=32&d=http%3A%2F%2Fs0.wp.com%2Fi%2Femails%2Fblavatar.png] [http://2.gravatar.com/avatar/8dc80490ec08a61c972adb004f1ca1eb?s=50&d=identicon&r=G] Propping Up Horseracing at the Expense of Schoolchildren Is Doubly Immoral by Patrick Battuello

    Alas, a tragic truth: Hearts and minds alone will not win this fight. As long as Horseracing continues to enjoy obscene amounts of corporate welfare – a.k.a. subsidies – it will continue to exist, no matter how effective we are in shifting public opinion or in reducing the demand for the racing product. Our big challenge on this front, however, is that most people, including the politicians ultimately responsible for them, are utterly unaware of the subsidies and how they work. But that’s beginning to change, as evidenced by Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf’s recent proposal to reclaim some $200 million from Racing and redirect it where it was supposed to go in the first place – education.

    The industry, of course, is terrified that this could become a trend; if it does, the bulk of U.S. Racing will fail, practically overnight. When forced to defend, the industry’s argument goes like this: With lotteries, casinos, and now “all-sports betting,” the gambling landscape has dramatically changed. Horseracing, they say, has (unfairly) been put at a competitive disadvantage and needs help leveling the field. Next comes talk of “tradition” and economic impact – “thousands of jobs,” ancillary industries like feed, hay, etc. Never mind that animal racing had a virtual monopoly on legal gambling for decades; never mind that their numbers are mostly pulled out of thin air. This pitch has heretofore been effective, for no politician wants to be on the wrong side of jobs.

    Anyhow, rarely do we get honesty

  2. Hope/change is in the air!!
    Thank you Patrick and Co. for keeping the heat on. No one can argue your dead horse statistics.

  3. Thank you for this eye-opening piece. We, as a society, are standing at a cross road between a corrupt, immoral industry stealing financial support from our very future and those children imploring us to do the right thing. Which path will we take?

  4. Thank You Patrick for this excellent article that you wrote.

    You clearly explained what is going on in Pennsylvania in relation to the proposal.

    I completely agree that children need to be put first IN every state and They should stop propping up horse racing which is TOTAL abuse against horses. This is going on in other states as well so I I am praying for Horse racing to be completely shut down in 2020. Do you have a list of other states that are also keeping horse racing alive ??

  5. Thank you, Patrick, for this post. I love good news for a change. How many people, especially those who don’t follow horseracing, know that our government has been subsidizing animal abuse? Horseracing is blatant animal abuse, and right under our noses in some ways. In some ways, the abuse is hidden but we have major television network coverage of the most popular horse races. Most people (that don’t follow horseracing) would not know how bad the abuse is, and that the abuse is built in, just by watching the Kentucky Derby maybe three or four times in a decade. Even though the routine practice of running 2-year-olds and 3-year-olds is completely contrary to true horsemanship, the horses are beautiful and magnificent and somehow people can get sucked into watching them on a television screen and possibly betting on the big Grade One races at an off-track betting casino. Save your money, please, and don’t contribute to betting because it helps to fund horses being used and abused as gambling chips. If everyone donated $2 to a school lunch program instead of betting on horseraces, we would be much better off. There are so many families that need help paying for their children’s school lunch!!!

  6. Your post is well-stated and inarguably persuasive.

    The horse racing industry is already bankrupt with consistently declining attendance and betting handle. If not for billions of dollars diverted from casino revenues, the racetracks would soon close.

    The public is largely unaware of these hidden subsidies. Nor do people know that the state derives no income whatsoever from dollars wagered on a sport where its signature athletes face the daily probability of crippling injuries and death. Horse racing is taxpayer funded institutional animal cruelty.

    There are essential state programs that are woefully underfunded – education, infrastructure repair, environmental protection, the opioid crisis, and many more. The undeserved subsidies for failing racetracks should be redirected to far more worthy purposes.

  7. Wow. What can I add that hasn’t already been stated? Brilliant post, followed by thoughtful, well-considered comments.
    And the dichotomy of the two selected pictures is profound and haunting.
    I’m so proud to be on the side of this movement. Thank you.

  8. This morning Donna Brothers (yes, that stupid) AKA Donna Barton tweeted out an article by pro-horse racing people in a obscure journal page.
    Donna celebrated the article stating that it belies any facts stated by horseracingwrongs.
    The article evolves around HRW and anybody who supports it as “extremists.”
    They quoted Patrick Battuello and perhaps Patrick can clear up the quotes because I don’t know about their accuracy.
    Nevertheless, I responded to the article in the “Comment” section and, as of now, I’m the only one who had a comment published and displayed.
    My comment is in direct response to the article and to this post.
    If you have the time to read this article and comment I invite you to do so.
    https://www.lohud.com/story/opinion/2020/02/12/horse-racing-deaths-santa-anita-hype-belies-realities/4728918002/?open-comments=true

  9. Thank you, Gina. I read the article but I didn’t sign in to see the comments section. The article states that Patrick Battuello not only wants horseracing to be banned but also wants horses to become extinct. Is there any truth to wanting horses to become extinct???

    • I know you know better than that, Wanda. Most of us are horse owners, many of us TB owners, ALL of us are horse lovers and horse advocates. Do you think any of us would support this endeavor if we believed the aim of all this is to make horses extinct? Hoffer’s been pushing that ridiculous lie for years, and Patrick has addressed it more than once. It’s typical, absurd, pro-racing desperation.

      • Exactly, Kelly. Brothers makes her living off the backs of the non-consenting horses bred for, used by and always ultimately not wanted by the racing industry. She and her fellow industry members sicken me.

        For the first few years of Horseracing Wrongs’ existence, racing tried to ignore Patrick’s posts of truth…they can’t ignore him and HW anymore. We are growing – literally by the day. Ignoring the truths exposed here is no longer possible.

        So because they cannot refute the message reported here, they attack the messenger. They can call Patrick and HW supporters hypocrites – go for it – if we’re the most outrageous hypocrites alive, that doesn’t resurrect every horse that racing killed and Patrick named here, does it. They can question my motives, my ideas, my beliefs – but every dead racehorse in the Killed In Action lists will STILL BE DEAD regardless of how “extreme” my views are. Racing can’t argue the TRUTHS reported here – the dead horses, the cruelties of racing – so they don’t dare touch them with a 10-foot pole. They blab about us, instead. Go for it – bring even more attention to the cause.

        “Brothers’ and friends’” own group (We Support Horse Racing) was created in response to our growing HW. WSHR aligns with Protect the Harvest, a pro-slaughter organization…so not only are these individuals OK with killing horses in training and racing, they have no issue with their used-up and unwanted horses being butchered in foreign slaughterhouses.

        Like I said, they sicken me.

      • Okay, Patrick, thank you for clarification. However, I must say it scares me to death to even think of horses being sterilized to extinction. Now, I believe that you said that in a very sarcastic mood because you evidently had had it, so to speak. I think Amy Hoffer is asking “what your plan for all of the horses not being used for racing anymore is” because, true to form of the horseracing industry, they don’t want to love and care for their horses in a manner in which would exemplify true horsemanship. The horseracing industry people only want to use Thoroughbreds for gambling chips and as slaves or objects to generate revenue for themselves until they either kill their horses, or in the event that their horses survive the cruel abuse and torture of racing, discard their living horses like trash. When a woman from a Thoroughbred rescue asked a man who discarded a Thoroughbred mare (that he and his wife made hundreds of thousands of dollars off of in racing) for a donation to care for her, the man (ex-owner) stated that his wife donated to other charities and flat out refused to donate any money at all to the care and feeding of the mare that raced for him and his wife and earned in the ballpark of a half-million dollars. No wonder Amy Hoffer would ask you what your plan for the unwanted horses would be since she represents an industry of morally depraved derelicts that are despicably referred to as horsemen. These people are an insult to the term!!!

      • Horses are not rabbits. They do not breed indiscriminately. When horse racing ends breeding farms would either cease to exist or would breed expensive horses to run in other countries. I think most of the high-end stallions would eventually be sold to other countries. There would be two or three crops at the most that were bred to run and had nowhere to go. Some of those would end up on the Eventing / show circuit and others will make very beautiful riding horses. Maybe States would step up and funnel some money that used to go into propping up race tracks into caring for these few crops and the runners that will have no place to run. More rescues could be set up to train the horses that were already running to transition them into being riding or show horses. My point is that this is one of those problems that we should look forward to tackling. Maybe we should take this just one step at a time and trust that we can do this.

    • Yes, Wanda – you said it perfectly. And while all of us on the HW board and advisory board share our homes with a variety of animals – and yes, everyone of us are animal “parents” who have committed to them for life – this pro-racing crowd are individuals who, like the racing industry, merely use horses for their chosen entertainment. They are owners in partnerships – and their horses go as soon as they cannot meet their expectations. They are “riders” – they have not a clue what the commitment to providing a HOME to a horse entails. It is all about what they can get from the horse. These are individuals who support not only racing, but rodeos, the carriage horse industry, fur farms, and even equine slaughter.

      Again, regardless of our personal views, what Patrick provides on HW are facts – the realities – about horseracing. Crippled racehorses. Dead racehorses. The message stands no matter who the messenger is. And it’s the MESSAGE that matters.

  10. Thank you, Kelly.. I didn’t believe it when I read that ridiculous lie previously in other places. I think that Amy Hoffer needs to be called out for spreading false statements. If government subsidies to horseracing were stopped, a lot of the breeding farms would no longer have a lucrative market for new foal crops. However, there are people who would most likely be able to continue owning and raising Thoroughbreds for more humane pursuits.

    • Exactly. Though it’s impossible to reconcile the breeding of more TBs when there’s so many in desperate need of love and lifelong care, thanks to all the racing folks who dump them and destroy them. The only factor that could possibly stem the tide of this sick madness is the END OF RACING. And it’s coming:)

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