Subsidizing NY Racing Is More Than Just Unfair – It Is Immoral

As previously relayed, a bicameral bill has been introduced in New York that would strip that state’s racing industry of most of its quarter-billion-dollar annual subsidy. And now the war (of words) is on. Because the racing people can’t rationally justify this corporate welfare – propping up an archaic gambling industry at the expense of schoolchildren is, or at least should be, a political loser – they have framed this as an animal-rights action, as if somehow that’s bad. NYRA spokesman Patrick McKenna:

“Organizations like NYClass, PETA and Horseracing Wrongs have long been philosophically opposed to horse racing and make no secret of their desire to end the sport. … [T]hese groups are only interested in how best to damage horse racing to further their own political agenda. … [T]hey cannot be trusted.” And more: The Thoroughbred Daily News: “Backed by a number of animal rights groups, two New York state lawmakers have introduced a bill….” And Horse Racing Nation: “The bill is supported by a litany of the usual suspects attempting to eradicate horse racing, including Patrick Battuello of Horseracing Wrongs….”

For its part, the coalition has chosen to fight this mainly on the economics line. And that’s fine, for on that, we’re on solid ground: The 19,000 jobs cited by the industry is almost certainly inflated. But even if not, (a) it’s still a tiny fraction of the overall workforce, (b) most of these jobs are low-paying, and (c) many of them seasonal/part-time. Besides, how many jobs could other NY industries create with $250 million/year in free money? Also, after accounting for the cost to regulate racing, the return to the state via taxes and fees is fairly negligible. And finally, each of the 11 NY tracks sits on valuable property – property that can and will be redeveloped, leading to new (probably better) jobs, new economic activity, and new tax revenue (proof here).

Still, I must ask, why should we run from the animal-rights tag? Is horseracing not, at its core, a moral issue? Are these animals not being exploited, abused, and killed by the thousands every year (see horseracingwrongs.org) and all for nothing more than $2 bets? In my view, then, if we can agree that it is wrong – immoral – to treat horses this way, for this purpose, then the questions of how many jobs are at play or what kind of economic activity is generated are wholly irrelevant.

But here’s the thing, and contrary to what the industry believes, going after the subsidies is not a backdoor tactic. Unfortunately, hearts and minds alone will not win the day. We can, and probably already do, have most New Yorkers with us, but as long as these subsidies remain on the books, the cruelty and killing will continue (while the horse people laugh all the way to the bank). In other words, this bill is not an animal-rights ploy – it’s an absolute necessity.

(We will provide information on how best to support the bill in the near future.)

12 Comments

  1. Of course the horse racing industry is attacking the messenger (HRW, NYClass, PETA) because they don’t like the message, they know it’s right, and they can’t fight the facts that thousands of racehorses die every year either on their tracks or on the slaughterhouse floor.
    They know that that this fact will never change so they must divert the facts from the public by focusing on those nasty animal rights groups.
    There is so much unknown about these “horsemen groups” AKA HBPA that control millions in government handouts and they work in tandem with the racing commissions to uphold the lies presented to the public.
    The only thing we do know definitively is that they are deeply corrupt and that’s based not only on direct experience with them, but from recent court documents in Pennsylvania and elsewhere.
    While teachers in our public school system have to jump through fire hoops to get basic classroom supplies these corrupt organizations are getting millions in public subsidies with little to no neutral scrutiny.
    It’s long overdue to pass this Bill which will divert this total waste of money into much needed areas.
    This will be the key to end horse racing because killing hundreds of racehorses every year, sadly, is not enough to shut down this antiquated, vile and unnecessary gambling venue.

  2. NYRA spokesperson Patrick McKenna says this stuff as if people who are using corporate welfare to prop up an industry that inherently abuses horses and races them as disposable gambling chips until they breakdown and tells the public that their tracks are “less deadly” than other tracks could ever be trusted. They say New York racetracks are less deadly as in they know they’re going to kill horses sooner or later! It is a given that horses are forced to endure pain and suffering every day as disposable gambling chips. It’s a given that horses are in pain and suffering when they are exploited for racing by racing participants. Our society should not be rewarding vile and barbaric acts committed on horses.
    Our society should not only CUT THE GOVERNMENT FUNDING TO HORSERACING/ INHUMANE TREATMENT OF HORSES, but our society should also be passing legislation to put these VILE racing participants in jail/ PRISON for their treacherous cruelty to horses!!!!! Horseracing is INHUMANE TREATMENT OF HORSES. It should be punished, not rewarded!!!!!

    • Also, the New York State Humane Association supports the Bill to stop the Corporate Welfare to horseracing in the State of New York. Take that Patrick McKenna…Ha!

  3. Hopefully, 2022 will leave behind all dark monies and government “subsidies” supporting Mafia-style operations to gain blood money from cruel and heartless industries such as horse racing tracks, rodeos, bull-fighting, dog racing, factory farms and other such underworld profit-seeking activities that torture animals for personal gain, “fun” and profit. I do NOT WANT MY TAX MONEY to be used to subsidize cruel so called “sports”. Get the self-serving racketeers out of government!

  4. And now with online wagering for true sporting events (football, basketball, etc.) about to become reality in NYS, we will see just how insignificant horse race betting really is. Expect true sports wagering to grab a good share of the horseplayer’s betting wallet.

    • Yes. Gary! As I’ve said before ….dog fighting, dog racing, bull fighting, horse racing, etc. It’s all the same evil, morally bankrupt evil for the lazy people who make their livelihood off of the torture of kind innocent animals.

    • In which case the NYRA and the rest would cry foul even more so for public money to prop up their shit-show.

  5. Each and every of your arguments are 100% true & valid — there is NO upside whatsoever to HORSERACING — for these facts alone, we MUST SHUT DOWN Horseracing — think of all the abuse and suffering we will end when this passes — think of all the happy & healthy Horses who will finally get to be free and properly taken care of at a Sanctuary — I hope and pray the cruel subsidies will cease.

  6. If I were a compassionate, clear-thinking Judge, these arguments would SHUT DOWN the vile industry of Horseracing.

  7. Link to audio interview conducted by David Lombardo with Assembly member Linda B.Rosenthal as guest.
    You must accept the cookies in the box to gain access to the interview, but it’s a good one. https://capitolpressroom.org/author/david-lombardo/
    She is one of the constructors of the Bill to END 200 million in subsidies to horse racing in New York state.
    Of course the usual whining coming from the “horsemen groups,” and David Lombardo is a known supporter of horse racing so he really digs into her.
    Mr. Lombardo continued to tout the claims coming from pro-horse racing entities that horse racing has been breaking wagering records with millions going into the coffers and, of course, the jobs, jobs, jobs mantra.
    Well, here’s my question to David Lombardo: if horse racing is smashing wagering records then where is all this money going?? Furthermore, WHY oh WHY are they still getting millions in taxpayer funded subsidies??
    If they are so financially self-sufficient, which he seemed to suggest, then their subsidies need to END and, in the least, the horsemen groups needs to open up their books and I’m sure it will be a book full of holes including not paying promised legal pensions to Trainers as they’ve ripped me off for mine.
    Indeed, after a lifetime of service to this business working 7 days per week, 12 hours per day, 365 days per year Sue Leslie of the Ontario HBPA denied me my pension – more to come later.
    Anyways, this industry takes and takes and gives little to nothing in return to the majority of residents in whichever state they operate.
    The BILLIONS given to Frank Stronach because he promised to upgrade state-owned properties including low income people of color neighborhoods surrounding Pimlico NEVER HAPPENED even though his MILLIONS in tax subsidies, at the expense of taxpayers, consisted without a scarce review.
    Hell, they don’t even take care of their racehorses who generate their millions in profits, in fact, killing and dumping them maliciously and intentionally.
    Any pro-horse racing person is a downright creep!

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