A Letter for Corporate Sponsors

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.

Through FOIA requests to state racing commissions, Horseracing Wrongs has documented (names, dates, etc.) over 7,000 kills at U.S. tracks just since 2014. Their research shows that over 2,000 horses are killed racing or training across America every year: cardiovascular collapse, pulmonary hemorrhage, blunt-force head trauma, broken necks, severed spines, ruptured ligaments, shattered legs. Over 2,000 – every year. In addition, each year hundreds more die back in their stalls from colic, laminitis, infection, and the like. And perhaps worst of all, two separate studies indicate that most – some 10,000-20,000 annually – spent or simply no-longer-wanted racehorses are mercilessly slaughtered at career’s end. Yes, slaughtered.

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.

25 Comments

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    • Hi Kathleen! I will post a revised list here. There are many that are STEEPED in racing or industry-related sponsors and those should be skipped. But the beverage companies and other retail companies should definitely be targeted and we will do an action in the Facebook Action Group as well. You are in the group, but here is the link for others to join: https://www.facebook.com/groups/887149342065006

        • Hi Andreea! Yes, we are on Instagram, too! The actions are harder for us to post on Instagram, but we will tag officials in the IG posts, too! Every bit helps! Thank you!

    • Laraine, racing will not end overnight, so there will not suddenly be thousands of horses without a place to go.

      I might point out, that most “retired” racehorses are slaughtered all year, every year. That’s 10,000 – 15,000 a annually. . Racing is continuously disposing of their “beloved” horses into the slaughter pipeline.

      Ending racing will not send more horses to slaughter.

  1. What if we let those in charge on taking a venue and transforming it into a tourist attraction similiar to Ky Horse Park. Using Pennsylvania take Parx or Penn National, this would generate monies,taxes tourism,jobs,etc. Also the barns and buildings are still there and functional. This would save horses lives as they would be part of the attraction. Would Pennsylvania consider or NJ, NY, Virginia,etc.

    • A tourist attraction dedicated to the exploitation and abuse of horses? I don’t think so. The goal is to completely erase horse racing from anything but history, not keep it alive through attractions. It’s a vile part of society that should not be celebrated.

      • Rebecca. The KHP has very little to do with horseracing. There are museums and educational materials giving history of horses and their loyalty and labors in the past and present. Not a horseracing shrine at all and I would not have even suggested that kind of establishment. It is for horse lovers and learning how they figured into our lives

        • Apologies, it sounded like it would be built on the site and dedicated to racing.

          • Thankyou for your thoughts. Please if you get a chance look up Ky Horse Park and see the comments visitors make and the flavor of the place.

        • Hey Nancy, I am self aware enough to have always known..John Henry was MY spirit animal. I don’t suffer fools,and I have a prickly personality 😂. My tennis coach as a kid wrote me a letter once where he told me …I had a “mean streak”. Sound familiar? 😉 yup,like I said John Henry was my “spirit animal” I ❤️ John Henry,always will.

          • Bonnie, he used to bite everyone!! When it was time for the vet to give him a nasal medication he would lay up against the door so the guy couldn’t get in. (Cigar will always be my spirit

  2. I would like to advise everybody that YUM YUM BRANDS are the main corporate sponsor of the Kentucky Derby and I think they could be for the Triple Crown events as well.
    https://www.yum.com/wps/portal/yumbrands/Yumbrands
    Good luck.
    I’ve already emailed them, but somewhat doubtful that a company who supports the massive suffering and exploitation of chickens won’t care about racehorses either.
    Nevertheless, it’s always good to let a business know how you feel.

  3. PLEASE BOYCOTT HORSE RACING! It’s seriously a ‘DYING INDUSTRY’ and I mean that both literally and figuratively! PLEASE!!!

    • Wanda, Thanks for caring. Fans will be in the stands soon. Please find and join a “picket line” at a racetrack near you. It is fun to see the guilt on their faces as they file in. Horse Racing Wrongs will even supply you with posters.
      Warren
      Oceanside, CA

      • Warren, I don’t live near a racetrack. Emerald Downs in Auburn, WA is the “nearest” racetrack with actual live racing days. That’s over 250 miles away and I won’t be able to travel that far. The Budweiser logo appears on their website as one of their sponsors. I will consider writing the letter to Budweiser. Thank you for your efforts!!!

  4. Thank you for sharing this letter, Patrick. My understanding is that horseracing has been in decline since 1986. It would be awesome if large corporations would stop sponsorship of this cruelty to horses!!!

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