Corporate sponsorship of the horseracing industry is, obviously, a critical component. The problem with corporations, as with the public at large, is that most are oblivious to racing’s horrors. To them, it’s but another sport at which to advertise their wares. So, it falls to us to educate – and pressure. Follows is a letter template. If so inclined, first identify specific sponsors of tracks you wish to protest, then feel free to use any or all. (Putting a personal touch is always recommended.) I would, of course, be happy to provide track- or state-specific death numbers. Thank you in advance. – Patrick
I am writing today in the hope that you might reconsider your sponsorship of the horseracing industry. For far too long, horseracing has been given cover under the banner of sport – indeed, “The Sport of Kings” – when in fact, stripped to its core, it is nothing but an archaic, highly subsidized (mostly non-self-sufficient) gambling business that exploits, abuses, and destroys sentient beings, inherently. In other words, it cannot be fixed or reformed; in other words, it is wrong from the start.
Since 2014, Horseracing Wrongs has documented over 9,000 American racehorse deaths; the group estimates that over 2,000 horses are dying at U.S. tracks every year. Cardiac arrest. Pulmonary hemorrhage. Blunt-force head trauma. Broken necks. Severed spines. Ruptured ligaments. Shattered legs. Over 2,000 – or about six a day. And when not dying at the track, they’re dying at the abattoir: Two independent studies indicate that most – multiple thousands annually – spent or simply no-longer-wanted racehorses are bled-out and butchered at “career’s” end.
But it’s more than just killing. Life for the typical racehorse is ugly and mean and cruel. Life for the typical racehorse is:
Forced Separation: Would-be racehorses are forever torn from their mothers as mere babies. Alone and terrified, their servitude begins.
Grinding of Unformed Bodies: Young racehorses are thrust into intensive training at 18 months, and raced at two – years before their bodies are fully developed. On the maturation chart, these equines are the rough equivalent of kindergartners.
Confinement and Isolation: Racehorses, innately social and herd-oriented, are kept locked – alone – in tiny 12×12 stalls for over 23 hours a day. Cruelty, defined.
Negation: Practically all the horse’s instincts and desires are thwarted, creating an emotional and mental suffering made clear by the stereotypies commonly seen in confined racehorses: cribbing, bobbing, weaving, pacing, kicking, even self-mutilation.
Control and Subjugation: Horseracing is lip tattoos, nose chains, lip chains, blinkers, tongue ties, cribbing collars, metal mouth bits, and, of course, whips.
Drugging and Doping: Racehorses are incessantly injected, legally and otherwise, with myriad performance-enhancing, injury-masking, and pain-numbing chemicals.
Commodification: By law, racehorses are literal chattel. They are ever being bought, sold, traded, and dumped – a stressful, tenuous existence that in and of itself causes pain. In fact, studies show that up to 90% of racehorses suffer from ulcers.
Sensibilities toward animal exploitation, most especially regarding entertainment, are rapidly evolving: Ringling closed, SeaWorld in decline, rodeo bans in multiple cities, dogracing all but dead. (In fact, dogracing has been outlawed – on moral grounds – in 41 states.) Indeed, public perception of horseracing is already changing. Most notably, in just the past year, two of the nation’s most influential papers – The Washington Post and The Philadelphia Inquirer – have called for racing’s outright end.
Racehorses, like all exploited animals, are truly voiceless; they need us, human beings, to speak for them. And nothing speaks louder or has more impact than corporate boycott. You and your corporation have the ability to extend kindness and mercy; please end your association with this cruel, deadly industry. Please, for the horses.
Thank you for your consideration.