The following letter from one of our followers, Rick Bowman, appears in The Roanoke Times today. I would encourage readers to leave comments on the paper’s website.
Thank you, Rick.

“The Kentucky Derby is upon us. This is the day when the racing industry will attempt to put a happy face on a brutal and ugly sport. I’ve owned race horses in the past and have seen first hand what this industry is all about.

“More than 2,000 horses are killed racing or training across America every year and hundreds more die in their stalls. If a horse actually survives racing, many are sent to slaughter. That’s their reward for being kept in 12×12 stalls 23 hours a day for almost their entire lives.

“Another dirty little secret of racing is that many horses are drugged or doped to mask injuries and numb pain. Some are legal, but many are not. Trainers are very skilled at masking the presence of these drugs. So now you have the perfect storm – an injured horse who feels no pain running at top speed. This is a disaster waiting to happen, and unfortunately often does.

“Here are a couple of facts about the Kentucky Derby that probably won’t be talked about much this week. The 1996 Derby winner was a beautiful chestnut horse named Ferdinand. Unfortunately he was not as successful as a stallion as he was as a race horse. This poor horse ended up dead in a Japanese slaughter house. In the 2008 Derby, the filly Eight Belles snapped both of her front legs after crossing the finish line. She was euthanized while lying there on the track.

“That image is still just burned into my memory. I finally realized that I could no longer be involved with racing and still claim to be an advocate for the welfare of horses. I had to make a choice, and that choice was easy. The well-being of these magnificent animals will always be my top priority. I truly hope that many of you feel the same way.” – Rick Bowman, Wise

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  1. it is so sad that on Monday, Drosselmagic, son of Drosselmeyer after being raced to DEATH by his trainer Roy Houghton, at the age of 8 got injured and was euthanized at the track. Since January we have begged Roy to give or sell this horse to us and he refused. SHAME ON HIM, SHAME ON PRAX RACING this horse is now in heaven with Barbaro and Barbaro’s Revenge. My heart is so broken again. THIS HAS TO STOP.

  2. Thanks to Rick Bowman for saying what needs saying until it finally hits home with those still on the fence about the cruelty and brutality of the Sport of K(ill)ings. I’ll head over to the Roanoke Times directly to offer the same.

    It’s obvious this message is being received, loud and clear. You can tell by how defensive and hostile racing’s supporters have become — and on their biggest, most celebrated day;)

  3. I so much appreciate you and your followers. I hope that one day I will be able to forgive myself for being involved  in this vile “sport.” In the meantime, I will do everything within my power to make amends. Rick

  4. Thank-you Rick and I so wish that there were many more journalists/reporters like you.
    I’m so disappointed over CNN playing and playing live snippets from Churchill Downs today even having a reporter planted there touting how lovely the festivities are and trying on hats as if it’s so much fun.
    We all know that behind the fancy hats and mint juleps are a bunch of racehorses being exploited, abused, dumped and killed.
    Very few have good endings.
    The carnage leading up to The Derby is horrific and it’s shameful how this industry is so full of the worse sides of human nature including racism, sexism, classism, speciesism – it’s like a slavery plantation with the victims being the horses.

  5. Thank you, Rick Bowman! I posted a comment at the R.Times, and hope it’s approved: “I live near the Santa Anita racetrack in CA, where the horse deaths averaged 50 per year, for about 10 years. These are not full years, nor full weeks, but “race seasons.” One horse death is too many, and the carnage has got to stop. Horseracing is exploitation at its worst,– mega breeding, over 2,000 deaths a year on U.S. tracks, then eventual slaughter,–around 15,000 a year. All this just for entertainment and greed is not worth the senseless suffering and deaths of these beautiful, magnificent creatures. Owners and breeders must know that horses are not fully developed until age six, but is seems they’re too anxious to make their profits by racing them at or before two.”

  6. Clean up the industry of horse racing or SHUT IT DOWN NOW.

  7. Thanks Rick, for standing up for those who cannot fight for themselves. This criminal activity goes on because the scum of the earth who is involved gets to police itself. Actually, while your statement is true: “Another dirty little secret of racing is that many horses are drugged or doped to mask injuries and numb pain. Some are legal, but many are not.” The laws, at least in NYS make it a felony to interfere in ANY WAY with ANY racehorse. But who is present to arrest these lowlifes? Why are we giving subsidies to pay for animal cruelty? This is the only “sport” that kills 2000 of it’s athletes a year. End it now!

  8. Ferdinand was slaughtered and sold as horse-meat for human consumption…..that’s how much he meant to the racing world and its money-grabbing, profiteering pieces of human trash. Unfortunately, he is just one of a very, very long line of innocent, defenseless horses that either end up being ‘murdered’ for dog food or for human consumption.

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