Betrayal: The HSUS and Horses

Statements from Kitty Block, president and CEO of The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), the self-styled “nation’s most effective animal protection organization”:

“[T]he racing industry [is] now enjoying the increased enthusiasm a new superstar [Justify] brings to the sport.”

“First, I want to clarify the Humane Society of the United States’ position on horse racing…. We are not, in principle, opposing horse racing.”

“The widespread use of both legal and illegal drugs imperils an industry that employs 400,000 Americans.”

“The Horseracing Integrity Act would – as its name suggests – begin to restore some integrity to horseracing, helping…the business.”

“This bill [HIA] is a gamechanger for equine athletes. It is a pro-animal, pro-industry measure that will not only help restore fairness to the sport….”

(Note: The Horseracing Integrity Act would be bad for horses.)

As an advocate, I recognize the great challenges presented by food and testing. It’s why I understand, though remain conflicted on, a subtler, more incremental approach: “Meatless Monday,” “Replace, Reduce, Refine.” But animal entertainment – that is, the enslavement, exploitation, and sometimes killing of animals as a way to pleasantly pass time? We – 21st Century America – should be ashamed at even having this conversation. It must end. Yesterday. Thing is, the HSUS agrees as it pertains to…

Circuses, Acting: “The HSUS opposes the use of captive wild animals as performers in circuses, film, television and commercials.”

Marine-Mammal Shows: “It is unacceptable for marine mammals to be held in captivity for the purpose of public display. [I]t should be rejected outright.”

Bullfighting: “The HSUS opposes bullfighting.”

Rodeos: “The HSUS opposes rodeos as they are commonly organized, since they typically cause torment and stress to animals, expose them to pain, injury or even death and encourage an insensitivity to and acceptance of the inhumane treatment of animals in the name of sport. Accordingly…we oppose bull riding, bronco riding, steer roping, calf roping, ‘wild horse racing,’ chuck wagon racing, steer tailing and horse tripping.”


Greyhound Racing: “The HSUS opposes greyhound racing. This practice leads to an unacceptable level of greyhound exploitation and suffering solely for profit. The industry promotes and tolerates an overproduction of dogs, resulting in an annual surplus numbering in the thousands, many of whom will end up being destroyed. The sheer waste of life is a scandal.”

Everything, that is, except horseracing, even as all it’s written on dogracing (and, as a matter of fact, the rodeo) clearly – at least to those with functioning brains – applies to the equine version. (Actually, I would argue that horseracing is worse because of slaughter. Talk about “scandal.”) The why here isn’t important. What is, what matters most, is what this says about the HSUS.

Horseracing is, by any and all definitions, animal exploitation. Absolutely, positively, unequivocally. Exploitation necessarily involves suffering of some kind. Exploitation, then, must be called abusive. Animal exploitation, then, is animal cruelty. By (very publicly) stating it is not philosophically opposed to horseracing, the HSUS is (very publicly) stating it is not philosophically opposed to all forms of animal cruelty. By actively trying to help Racing survive (thrive), the HSUS, with its enormous influence and reach, is abetting the continued condemnation of countless horses to lives of crushing negation and gruesome, terrifying deaths. And all for nothing more than $2 bets, entertainment. To say the HSUS is no friend to horses doesn’t quite capture it. What the HSUS has done/is doing to these beautiful animals is downright criminal.

(As if the above weren’t enough, consider these figures from 2018, the most recent available on GuideStar: In that year, the HSUS took in over $100 million in contributions and grants, had a payroll of almost $40 million, and was sitting on almost a quarter-billion dollars in assets at year-end. Imagine if just a portion of that were used on ending horseracing. Criminal, indeed.)

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  1. Unbelievable !!! What the Hell are these people there for then?????????? I have no words.

    • The saying, “Money talks, bullshit walks” is such a common saying. I read in a library book that sometimes money screams and sometimes it breaks the sound barrier. I think it did it all of the above in regards to horseracing and government oversight.

  2. The entire Animal Welfare industry has failed miserably at paying attention 2 the cruelties involved with horse racing which kills thousands upon thousands of horses. The Animal Welfare industry is a key player in the ongoing racehorse fatalities Including especially Peta, hsus, ASPC, and the AHA organizations. They are all painfully excruciatingly ignorant about the causes and possible solutions to the suffering inflicted upon the Young horses used for racing. They are part and parcel of the problem and have so far never offered anything useful to race horse welfare.

    • You are correct, except for one thing: They are not painfully ignorant. Nor is the HSUS or ASPCA. They know it all. People who come to our protests are members of PETA. (They are great people, I am attacking only PETA as an organization due to their refusal to call for a ban to racing. With their enormous war chest they could mount an incredible advertising campaign.) No, PETA has some other reason other than ignorance. Maybe $$$?

    • You are totally wrong about PETA’s involvement in efforts to end horse racing. Have you checked the PETA website for info about what PETA is doing on horse racing?

      • Please do your homework, Kathryn! I have already communicated with you elsewhere on this issue. There are “many” links like this one which explain how PETA is only working towards ” changes “. This one link is dated 2019. You can find others like it.
        Racing “changes” means compromise and continued racing deaths, injuries and thousands of horses sent to the slaughterhouse each year. PETA members need to stop the denial and start pressuring the organization to join in on an unconditional ban, not “changes” or “reform”, both of which, I am told, have in the past resulted in uselessness and a license for the industry to continue to kill.

    • PETA has many things against horse racing the HSUS unfortunately seems to think horse racing can be “Reformed” IT CAN NOT!

    • Unbelievable! Thank you for letting us know!
      Who would have thought the HSUS are such traitors to horses and failing them so miserably?

  3. Oh,AND by the way…when are we going to hear the results of Bob Baffert’s horses FAILED drug tests. What the hell is taking so long???????

    • Bonnie,
      Whoever sat on the test results to allow Bob Baffert to get away with a doping violation (that was reported on by a journalist several months after JUSTIFY “won” the Triple Crown) may still be “sitting on” a lot of something in order to perpetuate the myth that “horseracing needs a hero” and, of course, to keep the wagering handle up into the millions and billions of dollars. Unfortunately, some people are stupid enough to believe that phony line of crapola about racing needs a hero. 💩😞
      The horses need a hero; actually the horses need many heroes to speak up and stand up for their protection from the evils of the horseracing and slaughter industries!!!!
      End the abuse!!!

  4. I left the HSUS as a donor and member because of this kind of willful betrayal of animals. Their stance on horseracing is consistent with their very selective attitudes about animal rights. It does not shock me any longer. Nor does the stance of PETA, for that matter. Yes, great good is done, but it is inconsistent and can be quite cruel. They need to call for a ban, too, but just won’t. I know that my post here will upset some who support the latter organization but I’m just stating the facts. You see, true vegans call for the end of ALL exploitation, no exceptions.

  5. I donate money to the HSUS. I will stop immediately. This is outrageous. I want my money to be used to protect all animals, including horses! I am furious.

    • Great decision. I used to donate, too, as you can see in my post. Stopped years ago when I learned that (I am against the use of animals for food, entertainment, leather, etc.) they were selective and calling, often, for “humane” treatment. But killing is never humane unless it is to avoid a painful, unavoidable death.

  6. I agree in part that HSUS is not always on the right side of animal rights issues. I think the over-arching issues is there are and have always been too many over-inflated egos in the movement and that has prevented us in making the kind of progress needed to bring real relief to the animals that continue to be used, abused and tortured at the hands of humans. Rather than point out differences, the large organizations must come together on those issues they can agree on and work towards change. There is a missed opportunity today with the racial divide and it provides a springboard to push for an end not only to racism….but speciesism.

    • Unfortunately, there appears to be disagreement on the actual protection of horses from the forced confinement 23 hours a day at racetracks and the forced exercise for less than one hour a day, the use, overuse and abuse of drugs on horses to enhance the performance of horses, the use of shocking devices on horses, the cruelty of whipping horses into submission especially on the racetracks and training tracks and the list of abuses and the list of various ways of neglecting horses goes on and on. It definitely is a tragedy that so many horses are abused up to the time of their last inhaled breath!!!

      But, as long as people can agree on the money they receive from this diabolical exploitation of horses for racing and wagering handle, the horror of horse deaths and destruction shall continue. 😞

  7. thank you for bringing this to our attention! I will contact the HSUS and tell them no more donations until the reverse/correct their stance on horse racing. Hopefully lots of people will join in this effort.

    • That would be wonderful and sure to have some effect on them. Especially if enough people did that.

    • I am going to do that too. All on this blog should consider doing the same. HSUS does good advocacy as was mentioned in the editorial but they need to come forward against horse racing loud and strong!

  8. Sounds like HSUS is no longer a 501(c)(3) organization since they are now a promoter and not a protector….drop them from your donations, I have.

  9. The HSUS also procrastinated on getting the PAST Act (to prevent horse soring)
    passed when the votes to do so were there, until it was too late!

  10. Can you make a public records requet for disclosure of all communication between HSUS and the horse racing industry? As a non profit, they might be subject to public disclosure. I am not certain. Any non profit attorneys on this thread?

  11. Anytime an animal is used for the gain/purpose of money, abuse and neglect is sure to be involved.

    • Also, used for food, leather, etc. Killing a healthy animal is murder, in my book. Just of another species, but horses, cows, chickens all have the right to their own lives to an old age. Period.

  12. HSUS is not a friend to animals. It exists to raise money for its own purposes and its own benefit. If an animal is saved, that is done by a local group; HSUS will then take credit and raise money but the local group will not get anything.

  13. I will never donate to HSUS again and have also stopped any donations to PETA. They will have to EARN my trust. Thank you for providing this information.

    • Thanks so much, Christie! These organizations are hypocritical. Sadly. Just think how quickly racing could end with their enormous clout!

  14. HSUS has also abandoned our wild horses to the BLM in a misguided plan for population control—a cruel plan.

  15. What a shameful take on horse racing. I supposed if you could ask a horse “do you want to race”? What do you think they would say? I think they are voiceless to this practice and are being exploited for mony that is the core of it all!! ALL ANIMAL EXPLOTATION MUST STOP!! humans are a disgrace and I am ashamed to be one. Our animal kingdom is the ONLY TRUE beings on this hopeless planet. Humans greed and sickness is the root of all animals abuse. Shameful!

  16. I have suported the humane soc and peta. The more I read about both organization I feel that they need to change.I’m not horse racing and peta I have found kills between 70% and 90% of the animals they take in every year. Both are sitting on millions- they could do more for animals.

  17. Bickering about HSUS will do nothing to stop the horseracing problem.In fact talking about does nothing.Action does it.Calif.can do the initiative process to stop Santa Anita.That will kill racing in most states except maybe Kentucky.I realize the pandemic halts initiative process but planning now is a must.All we do now is talk and bicker.What a waste.

    • Yes, Jim, exactly, and with $250 million is assets, the HSUS could fund an initiative in California all by itself (or hire lobbyists to go after subsidies in the many states that have them). So perhaps you should reach out to the HSUS (or PETA) and ask them to get the process started.

      • Patrick, I re-read the figures and noticed that there is a discrepancy in the dollar-amount of assets you stated that the HSUS is sitting on as of the end of the year of 2018. Maybe it was a typographical error but obviously there is big difference between almost $250-billion (BILLION) and $250 million (MILLION).

    • You are dead on RIGHT, Jim!!! I said that very same thing 2 yrs., or more ago. Good man 🙏

    • Jim, I don’t think that revealing the true stances of HSUS and PETA is bickering. People don’t even know and need to be educated. Here I see at least 2 posters who will tell HSUS that they will not any longer donate to them because of their stance on horseracing. Should be the same for PETA donors. PETA only calls for reforms for horse racing.

    • Jim, a ballot initiative in California would take millions of dollars. What we do here at Horseracing Wrongs is educate through protests, billboards, talking to media and speaking to legislators to change public (and government) opinion so that someday either (hopefully) a large group comes forward with the millions needed to get a horseracing ban on the ballot in California the vote will be in favor of the horses. We continue our work researching, investigating, raising money and exposing this industry so that perhaps we can get a bill introduced to overturn the legal standing of horseracing in the state of California. There is much work to be done and we count on advocates and volunteers to continue to be a voice of the horses in the process. – Nicole Arciello, executive director, Horseracing Wrongs

      • Nicole, thank you!!! It is mind boggling to think that one ballot imitative in one state would cost over $1,000,000.00. Even then one ballot initiative in one state might not necessarily pass and then back to the talking, or bickering. Education is definitely key and HORSERACINGWRONGS is definitely worthwhile and needed to speak up on behalf of horses being exploited by an abusive industry. This site has been instrumental in opening a lot of people’s eyes as to how widespread and constant the abuse of racehorses is in reality, as far as I can tell. I appreciate it!!!!!!!

      • Wanda, It would take literally multiple millions of dollars in any state. See my comment to Karen to see what HW has done and is doing in the state of California for the horses. Thank you for your support!

      • Yes, Nicole, I did read your comments. Thank you so much for all you have done, are doing now and what you will continue to do #Endhorseracing…🙏🙏🙏

      • Nicole, thank you for your work on educating the public about the atrocities of the horseracing industry. If California legislators are anything like Florida’s, it will be up to the citizens to get the industry shut down. For years, we waited for laws that would stop greyhound racing, and every year there was disappointment. So, thank heavens, the citizens got a grass roots initiative going, and an Amendment to the State Constitution abolishing greyhound racing was put on the ballot, and it passed! This has led to other States shutting down their tracks. It took a lot of time and money, but it can be done, and if it was done in California, the ripple effect on other States would be staggering. I hope it happens, and soon!. The abuse and killing needs to stop.

  18. I am not surprised at all by HSUS’ position on horse racing. It is typical of them, and even though Wayne Pacelle is no longer their CEO and is busy building up his own new organization with Marty Irby and other former HSUS characters, he is still part of the problem.

    As an all-around animal lover and waterfowl community liaison who works with communities all over the country to develop humane alternatives to, and stop, the roundups and killing of Canada geese, I used to work with some people at HSUS for assistance. The most they would ever do was write a letter, and one key person literally told me if I brought them more high-paying donors who wanted to help geese, they would do more. It’s all about the money with them.

    Every person active in animal advocacy or activism in any way knows that HSUS would always show up to claim the credit for what the activists did after any successful effort – most notable was the story of the 2 ordinary ladies in Michigan in 2006 who singlehandedly started an email campaign to stop the hunting of mourning doves and managed to accomplish this (Michigan is one of only 8 states that still doesn’t hunt those birds, though they continue to try). The HSUS swooped in and claimed ownership of the victory. That’s just one of many stories.

    HSUS was also disgustingly responsible for the horrible “Rotten Egg” bill and the reintroduced “Rotten Egg” bill in California, which was essentially a slick deal between Wayne Pacelle and the United Egg Producers (the bad guys!) and while the public THOUGHT they were getting a kinder better situation for egg-laying hens, what they really got was extended bad conditions and curtailment of voters rights. CA voters were sadly played TWICE on this one, rejecting the first bill but being bamboozled enough to pass it the second time around.

    Anyone in the animal rights community knows that large organization like HSUS and others are just as corrupt as any large organization. Little of their money (sent by YOU!) actually goes to help animals and mostly goes to the top management salaries, fund raising, even their own pension fund, ahead of what they actually do for animals. Most mainstream people who are not very aware of animal organizations tend to support the names they are familiar with, without really looking into them. Animal Charity Evaluator and Charity Navigator and CharityWatch are 3 sites where you can check out any charity to see its rating, it’s financials, what they do with their money. If you want to help animals, you are always better off supporting a local rescue (still look into them!) and especially, your wildlife rehabilitators.

  19. I had heard a couple of years ago that HSUS has a very bad rating on charitable donations by a watchdog for charitable giving. I stopped sending funds to them immediately. The only ones I give money to now are local groups!!

  20. I receive solicitations for donations all the time from HSUS. I support other reputable organizations but I have never supported HSUS. I do not trust them in regards to animal welfare. It has been my experience that HSUS lie, cheat, and exploit the very animals we are trying to save. I will never support anything but reputable organizations, HSUS is not one.

  21. Horseracing operates on the mentality that they need a “hero.” What a crock of baloney!!!! (That is for the thousands of fools who want to believe a lie!) The horses used and abused for horse racing are forced into confinement, forced into exercise before they are old enough, doped for pain and performance enhancement, whipped, shocked with electricity, whipped some more until “whatever happens” happens. If the horse is a New-York-bred Thoroughbred and wins the Belmont Stakes in New York, the racetrack announcer hails the horse “a hero” just to play up the falsehood that horseracing is “cool” which makes anyone who falls for this line of crapola public relations a damn fool!!! All of those people who want to gamble and make bets on horses can talk their bullshit talk all day long but horses are abused 24 hours a day. The gambling addicts can make “donations” to the wagering handle and be fools thinking that racing is cool while making somebody else rich! It’s stupid! It’s a shame and a sham to call a doped up and abused horse a hero because he or she happened to cross the finish line first.

    End the abuse!!!!

  22. I personally sent a letter to the Humane Society January, 2020 regarding Santa Anita. They support the Horse Racing Integrity Act. Their response “At The Humane Society of the United States, we believe in taking a big tent approach. It has been that approach and willingness to work with a variety of stakeholders on many issues that make us so effective in creating lasting change for animals, whether it is working with big corporations to adopt cage free policies, or with our Agriculture Councils, working with farmers and ranchers who give proper care to their animals. We believe that this bill has the potential to helps thousands of horses as early as next year with a focus on ending the doping of racehorses. Racing does have other issues and we continue to work to address those as well including whip use, track surfaces, aftercare, and deaths and injuries”
    PETA was the only group to help shut down Santa Anita last year. This is all political. I have called Governor Newsom. Diane Feinstein and California Horse Racing Board and sent letters last year the this year. This act is not the answer, Everyone passes the buck and thinks that ending doping will solve the problems. Horse Racing makes too much money that is the problem. No one is helping these animals. This will continue as they are viewed as livestock as if they are expendable and if they do not die on the race track they get shipped to slaughter. PETA was only one that did something. There needs to be added legislative protection for these horses and for all american horses and burros. My congressmen hear from me all of the time about it. A movie like “black fish” but instead one about horse racing as the media needs to expose this wrongdoing to the public..

    • Karen, last year the first protest at Santa Anita was a Horseracing Wrongs protest, right after that protest Santa Anita decided to suspend racing for two weeks to find the problem which we know is just business as usual – the only difference, the media found out. It was my decision to continue protests in front of a closed track for the two weeks of their self-imposed suspension to keep the momentum going and to continue to educate that Santa Anita averages 50 kills a year, this is nothing new. Our amazing group of advocates in California continued protests throughout the rest of the year, held vigils, appeared at CHRB meetings to speak for the horses. Horseracing Wrongs put up 3 billboards in Los Angeles, and 22 bus bench ads with the message: Horseracing Kills Horses – End Horseracing. Since the Santa Anita story broke, and our first protest there last March, Horseracing Wrongs has been interviewed, quoted or cited in over 100 local and national (and international) television, radio and print publications to further expose the killing and cruelty inherent in this industry. Patrick and I traveled to Washington D.C. to speak to aides in Senator Feinsteins office. We continue to speak to legislators in California when possible to continue to expose the cruelty. Thank you for your efforts – your calls and letters – they are SO important and essential to helping to make change for the horses. Nicole Arciello, executive director, Horseracing Wrongs

  23. The HSUS position on horse-racing is no surprise to me. As a long-time animal lover and advocate, I could tell you VOLUMES about the corruption of HSUS (and indeed, many of the large animal organizations) and how they have stolen the credit for efforts done by others, dropped the ball on some animals completely and gotten bad legislation passed (I am specifically thinking of CA’s Rotten Egg legislation that former HSUS CEO Wayne Pacelle made by getting in bed with the enemy, United Egg Producers, that fooled the public into thinking they were getting better conditions for egg laying hens when all they got was extended bad conditions and a loss of voters’ rights).
    Animal organizations can be just as corrupt as any organization, especially the large ones. Some of them, like HSUS and others, put more of their money (actually, more of YOUR money, since it all comes from donors) into top management salaries, fund-raising and indeed, their own pension funds, than they do into actual animal programs and helping animals of all species.
    I urge everyone to please use websites like Animal Charity Evaluator, CharityWatch and Charity Navigator to look into the charities you are interested in supporting and see how they rate and how they use their funds.

    • abs314, I agree that transparency is important when choosing an organization to donate to. We at Horseracing Wrongs upload our 990s to Guidestar (I’m in the process now for 2019) and they are available upon request. We believe in our mission and consider each advocate, volunteer, protester and donor a partner in the fight to end horseracing. Nicole Arciello, executive director, Horseracing Wrongs

      • Nicole, thank you for your excellent comment. Horseracing Wrongs is an outstanding organization. If people would only research the groups they support and follow their work and their mission carefully, the good groups are not really hard to tell apart from the bad ones.

  24. Karen Drennen – Yours is a standout comment among many excellent comments here. I wish more people were as active as you – the world would be a better place. I LOVE your idea about a documentary like “Blackfish” done about horse racing.

  25. Both PETA and HSUS have openly admitted their stance: reform not a BAN.
    This is where I part company with them.
    This is exactly what the horse racing industry wants.
    What a better way to condone their corruption and death pit by having 2 of the most outspoken animal/advocacy groups support horse racing.
    There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s all about the money, that horse racing has cut some sort of deal with these 2 groups to, collectively, take a solid stance on reform.
    How sad for the racehorses, because if How sad for the racehorses because if PETA, & HSUS were to get on board with horseracingwrongs and take an unequivocable stance to BAN horse racing there’s no doubt in my mind that it would happen.
    Collectively, PETA & HSUS have the money, clout, and membership rolls to get this shut down at least in most states maybe not Kentucky.
    With one press of the button PETA & HSUS could send out their stance to their large membership and that would send out a clear message on horse racing.
    With their money they could easily introduce a bill into the California house to get the BAN passed.
    I recognize and admit that PETA especially has exposed horse racing for what it is, but falls short of taken a strong stance to BAN it.
    The “reform” stance is a lie as Patrick clearly shows, based on facts, day after day ……
    I know, as an industry insider, that reform is a hoax, a lie, and is just another public relations stunt from the horse racing industry to get their way.
    This gives them their carte blanche to continue abusing and killing racehorses.
    It’s a disgrace that both PETA & HSUS has become comrades of this killing industry.

  26. I am a contributor to HSUS so what Kitty & Wayne said in defense of horse racing surprises me & shocks me.

    The way horses are whipped to go faster is horrible. Plus the current drugging & soaring & whatever other cruulties are done to these magnificent creatures.

    And as you pointed out, when they are no longer money makers for owners, many go to slaughter. It is horrendous what this society does to their ‘friends’ so the sake of a buck!

  27. With all of that money that the Humane Society of the United States is receiving through donations and grants, they can go out to a racetrack or anywhere and, you know, party it up as in eat, drink and be merry…(barf)…and in their bookkeeping debits they can describe it as “_______” I’m thinking “other” but Kitty and Wayne are probably a little more clever…(barf)…

  28. I am truly shocked that that humane society endorses and supports horse racing ! I may reconsider my support for that organization ,

    There is no way to have humane horse racing and the industry fuels barbaric horse slaughter .
    Both must be ended for good!

  29. Animals and Gambling do NOT mix,or belong together. END it NOW. Put men who look like corny-ass used car salesmen out of business,go get a life and a real job.

  30. Cristobel “Kitty” Block earns $255,000 a year as the acting President/CEO of the HSUS. That data is from 2018. The HSUS has dropped to a 2-star rating from Charity Navigator (out of 4 stars) and that includes a 1-star for its finances.

    The HSUS does very little for animals here in the state of Ohio. I can speak from experience in regards to that issue. Same with the ASPCA.

    As an animal rights advocate/rescuer AND a businesswoman, I understand that these huge corporations cater to those donors who control the money. It is really that simple. MONEY dominates a great portion of our society and as I have stated many, many times, whenever you mix money and animals, the animals end up losing 99% of the time.

    In my younger years, when I was ignorant and naive, I donated to the HSUS and the National ASPCA. I simply didn’t know any better. Now I donate to smaller, local rescues…rescues that I have vetted or that others, whom I trust, have vetted. I am still a supporter of PETA, much to the chagrin of some racing supporters (and non-supporters). PETA is in my will and they will remain in my will.

      • Yes, Patrick, I can entreat/ask PETA to withdraw their support of the HIA. I am familiar with the HIA and you and I have discussed this bill in the past. However, as we both know, there is power in numbers. I think it would be prudent to ask all HW supporters to reach out to PETA and implore them to terminate their support. When anti-racing activists protest at various tracks around the country, the larger protests garner the most attention. The more people that speak up, the better chance we have of getting results. I simply don’t have that kind of power as a single individual and my contact within PETA, Steve Martindale, retired several years ago. However, I am not opposed to sending a email or making a phone call and I encourage others to do so, as well.

      • Patrick,
        Would it be possible or appropriate for Horseracing Wrongs to start a petition to PETA respectfully requesting that PETA withdraw their support for the HIA (Horseracing Integrity Act), knowing that the HIA would be counterproductive in protecting racehorses, for Horseracing Wrongs supporters to sign?

      • Mary, it’s not incumbent upon us to reach out to PETA.
        PETA should be crystal clear on their position and we shouldn’t have to do that.
        Their undercover video of Steve Asmussen’s barn is solid evidence of what goes on behind the scenes.
        Here’s PETA’s slogan: “Animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, use for entertainment, or abuse in any other way.”
        Well, hello horse racing fits their slogan to a tee.
        Just for the record, I’ve directly called into their town hall meetings and I questioned them as to why they are supporting reform (which is inadvertently supporting horse racing) instead of an outright ban?
        The answer was somewhat convoluted and they were talking out of both sides of the mouth.
        They said that they would like to see horse racing banned, but support reform until it is.
        If that isn’t a hypocritical statement I don’t know what is.
        If PETA & HSUS would put all their resources into banning horse racing it would happen a whole lot sooner and the fact that they support reform is supporting horse racing.
        They are just as bad as the apologists because they are enablers of the abuse and killings.
        They’ve lost me on this one.

  31. WAYNE Pacelle was a celebrity seeker, egocentric troubled soul, and we left HSUS when he betrayed the hundreds of tortured murdered dogs buried on the hell ranch belonging to Michael Vick. Thanks to Pacelle, Vick has not paid the price of raping, electrocuting, strangling hundreds of dogs he deemed losers, and Pacelle raised him up as a born again, recovered animal abuser after only spending 18 mos. in prison!!
    If one’s father taught you about dogfighting at 5 years old, and you spend your life getting a rush from starving innocent dogs, so they can then tear apart another dog for gamblers, and the depraved, then you are a sociopathic psychopath!
    Vick should have received the maximum sentence of life in prison! Can you imagine what would have happened to him if those dogs had been children?!
    And Pacelle enabled him, and, sorry to write, so did President Barack Obama!! He actually said that everyone deserves a second chance!! WRONG!!
    I always wonder if Vick has had dogs, for years that he is having fight, now, as he travels under the radar and the nfl was actually going to give him a LEGACY award of some sort where they apparently overlook dog serial murderers. That man’s legacy is heinous! He repulses me! Vick has a special place in hell waiting for him, and for him to get to go on with his life, making millions, and becoming a ROLE MODEL for innocent little boys illustrates the moral depths to which our society has plummeted! Is there no moral conscience??!We are Rome during the days of the Coliseum!!
    So, it does not surprise me that HSUS is soulless. They should just close up shop. They are a serious liability to animals, and they should not be allowed to make millions from honest, unsuspecting people who donate to that bogus organization thinking that they are an animal rights organization.
    HSUS has proven that they betray donors just as they betray the animals they profess to work to protect!!
    They should be donating all the money that they have which was built on the backs of tortured animals and give it to every organization against horse racing!
    Then, close your doors! You have lost your way, and we don’t want you to continue threatening animals!

  32. Hypocritical to say the least & smacks of corruption to me !Will never be donating to them EVER! Horse torture is just as exploitative & cruel as all the other horrors !

  33. Like so many other things, it’s all about money. That is very sad. Those poor horses! They deserve better.

  34. There is absolutely no excuse to allow cruel practices towards animals for personal monetary gain. We need to get rid of rodeos, horse racing and all other sports that depend on the harm and abuse to other species and totally crack down on entities such as dog fighting and cock fighting. When will we change the mentality towards kindness to all living beings?

  35. If it would take $250 Million to get an initiative on the ballot to ban horseracing in one state, how long will it take to get $250 Million to accomplish this? Since the current president and CEO of the HSUS, Kitty Block, is basically swindling people out of who-knows-how-much money, should there be a ballot measure to stop scams of this kind? Just a thought… Smh!

      • Thank you for that bit of information, Patrick, because you stated that number in one of your comments above in this feed and I picked that number out of a hat for that reason, with the word “If” to begin my question. I do not know how much it would cost to get an initiative on the ballot other than multiple millions.

  36. The HSUS is supposed to be the voice for the animals (horses, dogs, cats, mammals, and others) who cannot speak for themselves. The cruelty of any kind needs to stop, and if that means outlawing horse and dog racing, then so be it! No animal needs to be tortured for anything! Stop Animal Cruelty Now!!!!!!!!

  37. Please do your homework, Kathryn! I have already communicated with you elsewhere on this issue. There are “many” links like this one which explain how PETA is only working towards ” changes “. This one link is dated 2019. You can find others like it.
    Racing “changes” means compromise and continued racing deaths, injuries and thousands of horses sent to the slaughterhouse each year. PETA members need to stop the denial and start pressuring the organization to join in on an unconditional ban, not “changes” or “reform”, both of which, I am told, have in the past resulted in uselessness and a license for the industry to continue to kill.

  38. This is a quote from a woman in S. America that I read years ago that has stuck with me: Never doubt that a small group of like minded people can change the world because nothing else ever has! In my 79 years on this earth, one of the things that I have noticed, is that an organization such as HUH, PETA, and ASPCA has reached a certain point, the survival of the organization becomes the focal point. Not to say that there aren’t any good organizations but it be hooves us as individuals to become discriminate I receive multiple requests for donations every day, and I live in a very small town that has an animal rescue and I know the people who have it, that is where I donate to. I personally have animals that have been rescued. If we are to be part of the solution, (banning horse racing) what can we do about the other part of the solution. Unemployment of 400,000 people, most of which have little to no education, ( if that figure is correct) Go find a job??? Have any of you looked at the unemployment figures in this country lately? That is also part of the solution. Banning horse racing (which I am for) is only a part of the solution. We have a rescued ex-racing horse and an ex-trainer (who lives on the ranch in a tent with his mother) who can’t find a job. I want to be a part of the whole solution, not just a part of the problem that is created by this. I greatly appreciate all of your input on this situation and any input you have. I especially appreciate Patrick in bringing this to lite and the people who are involved. So having said my thoughts on the matter, Thank you all and let’s put an end to horse racing!!!!

    • It is also the exploitation of certain groups of people who have no other options. Which in itself is sad.

    • There aren’t 400,000 people who will lose their jobs. Discussing economic impact is extremely difficult if not impossible and numbers can vary wildly, by several hundred percent, depending on who is doing an analysis. I can’t give actual numbers because I can’t find information but a cursory glance at the number of horses racing in any year suggests that number is wildly inflated. It doesn’t account for deadweight of leakage or any of a number of other factors.

      As an example, the Michigan racing industry contracted a study when they wanted a cut of casino taxes. To count the number of jobs they included everyone who had the faintest relationship to racing. They counted farmers who grew hay, farriers, truckers who transported horses or supplies, etc. they painted a picture of massive job loss and massive loss of income. When they didn’t get subsidies none of it proved true. Farmers planted different crops, farriers did other work (mine started making custom wrought iron work and made more money without wrestling horses), truckers carried different loads. Agricultural land and racetrack sites were sold for much more profitable uses which actually generated more tax dollars instead of depending on subsidies to continue operating. A shopping mall generates significantly more jobs and property tax revenue than the racetrack that used to stand on the site. Michigan is down to one track whose future is uncertain and the prediction of dire economic consequence never happened, people moved on to other things. In fact, the casino taxes now go to local government to use for basic services, education, etc. which employ a lot of people and actually have a discernible long term economic impact.

      Also not accounted for is the fact that, among those states that subsidize racing, either through casino revenue or direct subsidies, roughly half of the purse money awarded is not awarded to residents of those states, it leaves with the owners who live elsewhere. That is never accounted for in any study.

      • Yes, thank you, Alan. The “whining” from owners/trainers about Michigan racing during my years at the track quickly became a source of irritation to me. They would yap continuously about how tough things were on them at the exact time I was loading their crippled horse (one with, of course, no diagnostics done and not even a dose of bute for some pain relief) into my trailer – I bit my tongue many times, so wanting to say “then do yourself and the horses a favor and get the hell out”.

    • Richard Peterson – that “woman in South America” that you mention was the brilliant American cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead and that quote has always been one of my favorites. You should look her up – amazing woman. This is the correct quote:

      “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

  39. Finding ‘jobs’ for people,should not be part of the equation. Saving animals is.

    • Bonnie, the people with power in horseracing have used “jobs” as a bargaining chip of sorts to justify the cruelty and torture of racehorses. They gloss over the cruelty and torture part, of course, or they make ridiculously stupid excuses why racing and pari-mutuel wagering should continue. Can you believe that increasing the homeless population would happen as a result of putting a ban on horseracing? That is partly because the rich and powerful people in horseracing are not going to take care of their own human employees. They dump their horses when it’s convenient, right? So why should they be decent to their employees (grooms, exercise riders, jockeys and all of the rest of those employees) in the racing industry earning below poverty level wages? They should be decent, but the fact is they are not decent to the lowly, human or equine. I think that the jobs thing must be addressed in any legislation regarding the banning of horseracing in any state, county or city. So how many millions of dollars does it take to get an initiative on the ballot for a vote?

    • Right, Bonnie – I find it curious that some folks are bothered about job losses for these abusers and enablers of it when horseracing meets its end. I don’t believe I have ever seen concern from an animal advocate about equine slaughterhouse workers and their loss of a job if the slaughterhouses were closed.

  40. The HSUS should go into the Banking business — it’s been made clear, repeatedly, HSUS only cares about the bottom line — HSUS do NOT give a damn about Animals — let’s reiterate : you CANNOT care about Horses AND Horseracing — it’s one or the other.

  41. I am extremely disappointed in HSUS for thinking horse racing is OK. It is cruelty just like other sports where horses are used and abused.

  42. A word of caution. Whenever you donate to ANY charity, check them out first.

    AS for HSUS…are they serious? Have they looked at horse racing, at all? It doesn’t seem like it! If they had, they’d know there is no reforming racing, for a number of reasons. So, here is my open letter to HSUS, and any other organization who thinks horse racing can be reformed.

    Dear HSUS,

    There are far too many race horses born, world wide. We need an international body to determine a set number of foals to be born. This would drastically cut down on the excess number of horses needlessly sent to horrendous deaths in slaughterhouses. Yes, slaughterhouses.

    Horses of today, are not the same creature as they were, 150 years ago. Horses today, are so inbred, that over and over, genetic defects show up. Tendencies towards weak ankles. Neurological conditions. Bad knees. Spinal problems. Three has not been an influx of fresh genes in the breed, for almost 300 years. And, its showing. Again, an international body needs to decide which other horse breed should be bred into the thoroughbred line, to physically strengthen it-whether or not, racing continues, in any form. REAL horse people who buy horses, will see their vet bills decrease, whether they ride those horses for pleasure, or race them.

    Race horses today, are bred for heavier, more muscular bodies on thin legs. This is aided, through a regimen of steroids and antibiotics-whether or not there is a medical reason for such drugs. Since horses are racing at 2, they must be what the modern trainer regards as physically mature. Bred big mares to big stallions, then pump that foal up with any drug that will make it grow faster.

    Horses are put into training before they are done growing-all of us know that, but does HSUS know it? Do they realize, a horse is not full grown until between the ages of 4-5? Therefore, still soft bones and joints and soft tissues are being worked beyond their capability.

    Because young horses are trained and raced before they are physically ready, they are fed pain killers. Why? Because, like I said, their bodies aren’t ready for such work-so, they suffer strains and sprains all the time. They are always in some pain. Something always hurts. Trainers know this, so they send for the vet, who dutifully administers pain killers. And, more steroids to cut down on inflammation.

    Horses are kept from pastures. They don’t get normal socialization with other horses. How much time with another horse can they get, being led to a track? Being forced to not greet other horses on the track, but to concentrate on running full tilt, so as to avoid that whip on your body? None at all. We know that any animal, deprived of normal socialization, developes, at the best, neurosis, at the worst, psychosis. Is it any wonder, when the favorite’s trainer is interviewed before the big race, they comment, with a grin, how thieir horse loves to kick and bite anyone passing by? Take a look at the stall doors-look at how the wood has been bitten down. Only a starving horse would do this-unless of course, a horse has been shut up in that stall for 22 hours each day, and is going mad with boredom. WAtch horses shift from one foot to the other, weaving hour after hour.

    Imagine your body is designed to eat on the move, to graze, as you wander from grass patch to patch. You eat and drink, when you are hungry and thirsty, and you move as you do so, to avoid your gut seizing up. Its how you were designed. Now, imagine being fed at 10 am and 5 pm. At the convenience of your groom. And people wonder why racehorses have such a high rate of colic.

    Then there’s the end of a career. If a horse is a gelding, and hasn’t exactly captured the public’s fancy by being a Funnycide, with a stellar career, there’s injuries that will cost too much to heal, if no one wants to retrain that horse as a trail horse, a jumper,or a horse to ride a few times a week for the heck of it, that horse goes to the slaughterhouse. If the horse is a mare or stallion, of what is termed inferior breeding (although, since all racehorses are almost incestuously close in relation, how can one horse have superior breeding and another inferior), and you also don’t attract a 2nd career, you go to the slaughterhouse too. Horses, if healthy and properly cared for, can live to 30+. These meat market bound horses are often 4 or 5.

    Reform? Horse races should not look like the Charge of the Light Brigade, 20 horses all trying to get around one another;invariably, someone clips someone else’s heels, gets squeezed into a rail, and goes down. Races should not involve more than 6 horses.

    Horses should not be raced until an independant vet shows evidence that that horse is physically mature enough. Until that time, a horse should be trained like a dog. It should stand still and allow itself to be groomed, shod, bridled, led about on a lead rein, it should allow itself to be saddled, for the practice of it. Hell, teach it to do some tricks, as well. UNtil then, that horse should be allowed to spend most of its time in a pasture, with others of its own sex and age. Let it socialize. Learn who is dominant, who is passive. Let it graze, run, play tag, groom its best buddy, roll in the grass, beg for treats from anyone passing by the pasture fence.

    A horse whois actively racing, should not be shuttled between tracks for races and training. Either ship the horse to your home farm, to a boarding facility with pastures near the track, or tracks will have to have their own pastures. No horse should have to spend 22 hours in a stall. Horses will suffer less colic, and exhibit a lot fewer bad stall habits like cribbing and weaving, or kicking stall sides until they injure their legs and hooves. Again, the vet bills will be lower.

    So, HSUS, you want to reform racing? Reform it! Just do it in ways every trainer and vet has known since Queen Charlotte decided Epsom Downs would make a great race course.

    But, even better, use your war chest to demand of politicians, that they end racing. Educate the public, on why racing horses is as cruel as racing greyhounds-and for the same reasons. Florida ended greyhound racing. Its time to end racing horses.

    • Long story short, end the cruelty and torture to horses by passing legislation to ban horseracing! Pay the $5 Million or thereabouts to pass legislation in one state, at least. Thanks, but no thanks, thanks to the heartless, greedy people running the non-profit HSUS for their own personal financial gain ($255,000 annual salary to the CEO) racehorses will continue to be exploited on an overwhelmingly massive scale until a genuine collective effort comes forth with the wherewithal to pass legislation to ban horseracing and give legal protections to horses.

  43. I attempted to post the following directly on the HSUS blog of Kitty Block. Apparently, my post did not pass “moderation” twice as I attempted to send it a second time. I am grateful for the opportunity to share it here with supporters or former supporters of the HSUS:

    “Your comment is awaiting moderation. This is a preview, your comment will be visible after it has been approved.
    June 16, 2020 at 11:38 pm

    By Jo Anne Normile
    Do horses feel less pain than dogs when used as disposable gambling objects?

    The Horseracing Integrity Act is a lie by its very name. There is no “integrity” in exploiting these majestic beings meant to graze 18 hours a day to 23 hours a day of stall confinement.

    There’s no “integrity” in legislation that causes these jailed horses to have the highest rate of stereotypic behavior and the lack of normal movement greatly increases their risk of colic.

    There is no “integrity” in prohibiting a herd animal from any interaction with other horses. There is no “integrity” in whipping them to run faster down the stretch right when their muscles are aching, tendons are strained, bones are beginning micro fractures and lungs are bleeding from the strain. Would you approve of the AKC dog handlers using whips to make show dogs perform the proper strut?

    There’s no “integrity” in taking yearlings 18 months old from pastures to begin race training so they are ready to race when they are 2 years of age.

    Contrary to your statement, this legislation nor any legislation will ever end horses dying from racing—only ending racing will unless you want to tell us how many racehorse deaths a year is okay with the HSUS?

    I’m a former racing breeder and owner who left racing in disgust. That you condemn dog racing yet think it’s okay for horses to suffer this miserable life til they die racing or per Alex Waldrop of the NTRA who admits that 7500 die a year in slaughter houses (statistics say 10-20,000), most respectfully, you need to spend some time on the backside of a few racetracks.

    • Thank you, Jo Anne Normile, for sharing your comment here. Your knowledge and experience is much appreciated. Large “charitable” non-profit organizations are able to operate in much the same way as large for-profit organizations with the exception that they are exempt from paying taxes to the Internal Revenue Service. However, according to what I have read, even Jeff Bazos with his giant multi-billion dollar corporation known as Amazon does not have to pay taxes to the IRS. He’s “only” worth $114 Billion according to information on the internet from 2019. The United States Department of Education is worth (has a budget of), if I remember correctly, $68 Billion. My point is people who take in so much money are taking unfair advantage by being tax exempt for “whatever” reason. Also, with non-profit organizations, a founder or president or Chief Executive Officer is able to play on the sympathy and/or empathy of the public and pay themselves $400,000 per year if they want to, which I find shockingly appalling. It’s no wonder that these so-called charitable organizations are corrupt.

      • Wanda, much gratitude to you for your compassion and activism and all your knowledgeable posts including this one. The ASPCA will also not ask for a ban on horseracing yet their very organization was started because of abuse to horses!

        Horseracing Wrongs — started as a blog and now known world-wide with one mission: #EndHorseracingNOW or one track at a time as has been happening for decades I’m happy about. Whinnies to all who “speak” for these horses whether it be donations to Horseracing Wrongs for more signs, banners, flyers, billboards, and other expenses or maybe donations are not possible but priceless is the time donated by those that can attend protests, create or comment on posts or tweets or share them, comment on blogs, talk to friends, make phone calls, email or write letters when needed. We can do this!

    • Thank you Jo Anne. You have done so much to educate the public about racing and to help the horses for years now. Your voice is and has been so important. We need to keep speaking out.

  44. I wanted to thank everyone for their comments on my post re: Betrayal: The HSUS and horses. I am new to Horse Racing Wrongs site and appreciate Nicole letting me know the important work Horseracing Wrongs has done to be a voice for these animals.I too have given money to the Humane Society. I have corresponded with them regarding the staggering amount of horse racing deaths and cruelty and also the BLM round-ups due to the inhumane treatment of these animals. I did receive a statement regarding their stance on horse racing deaths as: “The racing industry is aware that they need to reform and protect race horses. We are working with them on reform before we consider additional action. We believe passing of the federal bill (HRI Act) together with additional safety reforms is the best path forward at this time.” I also found in 2016 that the Humane Society developed Horse Racing Advisory Council make up of jockeys, breeders, and advisory board professionals to consult to transform horse racing. Kitty Block CEO wrote a book “The Humane Economy” where HSUS partners with companies, food retailers and fashion giants: and industries that rely on animals for the purpose of improving treatment of the animals.
    In my opinion they both benefit: to keep the industries going and the HSUS makes some changes here and there for the animals; but in the end will never come out and be against these organizations. Here is the link to the website To me this was an eye- opening experience on how they operate and will never be in favor of banning horse racing or shutting down the tracks.

  45. Here’s another point that I find so hypocritical.
    Both PETA & HSUS support a total ban of greyhound racing and it’s because of this collaboration that greyhound racing has been pretty much shuttered in most all states.
    PETA, HSUS, ASPCA and most all animal rights/advocacy groups were on board for this one, clearly stated their position, and worked together to shut greyhound racing down.
    Of course Grey2k led the way throughout their years of public education, campaigns, and with financing this went a long way as well.
    In fact, they just claimed another VICTORY today when the last track in Alabama has been shut down.
    Hooray for that!
    So the 3 key elements to shutting greyhound dog racing down was 1. Everybody was on board with their stance and clearly stated it 2. STOPPED the funding from casinos by enlisting casino owners who wanted dog racing shut down since it was a constant drain on their profits and facilities 3. Both the casino owners and Grey2K has regular meetings with local politicians armed with statistics and somehow go the politicians on board to get a referundum on the Florida ballot. 4.Educated, persisted and laid the facts out for everybody to see for themselves.
    These exact step are what’s needed to shut down horse racing.
    The fact that PETA & HSUS doesn’t fall into the first category is a huge detriment to shutting horse racing down because they are actually working WITH the horse racing industry not against it as they should. 2. Casino profits and/or taxpayers money MUST STOP to horse racing. 3. This site has played an instrumental role in educating people with the facts.
    Just the fact that PETA & HSUS regular voices their “reform” support for horse racing is a huge set-back both visually, verbally, and collectively.
    Finally, the fact that PETA & HSUS supports a total ban on Greyhound racing, but not horse racing is a dicotomy at best, hypocritical and not logical.
    Both these groups are indirectly responsible for racehorse deaths.

    • Gina, the only point of contention on logic is that dogs ARE NOT classified as livestock animals, whereas horses ARE classified as livestock animals. That does not make it okay to abuse horses and torture them and kill them by exploiting horses in extremely inhumane ways. I support the de-funding of horseracing in all States. It won’t stop horseracing completely but it will reduce the profit margins in producing new foal crops, therefore reducing the number of horses bred for the sole purpose of being treated inhumanely by people involved in horseracing! It will also reduce the number of racehorses and mares, both pregnant and barren, with or without foals at side, dumped into the slaughter pipeline.

      • Legally, the fact that racehorses are classified as “livestock” instead of pets is a fact.
        However, it doesn’t excuse PETA or HSUS for supporting this industry by collaborating with them on “reform.”
        Their position only serves the industry and further facilitates the massive carnage of racehorses.
        As Patrick has laid to bare the facts after their so-called “reforms” including safety initiatives.
        They mean nothing.
        There are no excuses for this.
        The fact that both groups come out and say that they support “reform” (whether or not they want it shut down) is not doing the racehorses’ any favors.
        It’s supporting the industry and that’s where I part company – livestock or not.
        Stop siding with the horse racing industry on reforms.
        The fact that both groups do only serves the industries explolitation of racehorses and helps to delay any progress that is trying to be accomplished.

      • Gina, after giving it serious thought, I don’t honestly know what significant difference it would make about how animals are classified. Animals that are classified as pets are treated inhumanely. The pet trade abuses, neglects, tortures and brutally kills animals in pet shops that are too sick, or for whatever reason, cannot be sold. Animals are sold as pets to people that don’t care enough or know enough to have the proper habitats for these pet animals. Purebred Beagle puppies are used in government labs and treated in the most inhumane manner. It is highly disturbing to say the least that all animals in any category or classification are subject to horrendous cruelty and torture. Dogs and puppies are seriously treated inhumanely in puppy mills. It’s all unacceptable and more should be done to stop these horrors. It’s so depressing! I’m sick of it!

    • I suspect it’s in part because people have more experience with dogs. They live in the house and snuggle with you. I would venture to say most people have never even touched a horse much less known one personally.

  46. I honestly didn’t know their stance on racing. I’ve supported their undercover investigations on factory farms, puppy mills, etc., but I simply don’t understand why they do NOT oppose horse racing. I’ll send my money to other organizations who are strongly in opposition to horse racing. Thank you, Patrick, for pointing out this crucial fact to us.

  47. You know it really irks me when I get a message from HSUS quoting racehorse deaths in the last month and then asking for a donation.
    HSUS supports reforms, not ending horse racing and they have their nerve exploiting the deaths of racehorses to get donations from people who don’t know the facts.
    They state in their article that they were “instrumental” in bringing about the Horse Racing Integrity and Safety Act (HISA), but since it won’t be implemented until 2022 throw us some money.
    I wouldn’t doubt if they got their death statistics from HRW with no reference to them whatsoever.
    HRW was the first and only animal advocacy group to take a strong stance to shut down horse racing and they also point out that reforms don’t work.
    They got it right from the “get-go” and that’s why I support them in whatever capacity I can.

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