Two more recent letters (and some previous ones):
Today is the day. It’s been coming for a few years now and is a very difficult one for me. I have had horses since I was five and grew up at the tracks in Ohio. We currently have two horses. I have friends in the industry, including where I live in PA. I can no longer support the “sport” of horse racing. I will from now on, be an advocate for the horses, instead of the people who are abusing their horses. I can no longer say these people care about their horses when they continue to drug and kill them. I am already sharing the petition for PA with all of my friends. I hope I can make a difference. Thank you for your help in coming to this decision. – Kimberly Austin-Routhier
Dear Mr. Battuello: I never in my life thought I would be writing you a letter like this. I have loved horses and been a horseracing fan all my life. I am now 63. When I was a little girl, I grew up reading C.W. Anderson’s horse stories. When I was 10, my family moved here from Milwaukee, and I was so thrilled because I loved the Kentucky Derby and I now lived in the town where Churchill Downs was located.
Nothing is more beautiful than watching a thoroughbred run; noble, heroic, courageous, full of heart and spirit. But there is nothing noble or heroic about horseracing any longer. It has been destroyed by greed and cruelty.
For a time I naively thought that if we could get the “bad” people out of racing, then things would be better. But now I realize there is nothing but bad people involved in racing from the top to the bottom. The millionaires that churn out more horses than America could ever support and refuse to accept the slightest limit on their breeding programs. The veterinarians who have abdicated their responsibility to care for the animals in good faith and who drug helpless beasts in the eternal quest to win regardless of the harm to life and health. The trainers who care nothing for their charges, only their pocketbooks and reputations. The owners who drag ill-used and sick animals to race at racinos so they can make another hundred dollars or so.
I can’t take the naked greed and the naked cruelty anymore. No one, except for your group, has any true desire to reform things. Nothing is being done to protect horses from being abused until they die. All the measures proposed so far – a central horseracing authority, etc. – is just a sop to the people who know that horseracing is cruel. The death toll has become too much to bear. Everyday cruelty is the new normal.
I believe the only solution is to end horseracing for good. We ended greyhound racing because people thought it was cruel to dogs (and it was). Are horses any less? Perhaps because your everyday person has less exposure to horses than dogs is part of the gap. Horses are classed as livestock to most people, but just because they are does not give us permission to use them cruelly. Nor does it give us permission to torture animals until they die and kill them cruelly in slaughterhouses.
After all these years of loving thoroughbreds, I can no longer support racing. This has been a long time coming, but horseracing has changed so much that it is unrecognizable. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. I refuse to be part of the problem anymore. Your website has gone a long way towards changing my mind and my attitude. No more casual cruelty, no more casual death. I can’t take it anymore. – Jeanette Jackson