Laoban was a Grade 1-level horse whose last race was the prestigious Travers Stakes in 2016. “Retired” after only nine starts (and a half million in earnings), he was then, of course, moved on to stud duty. Last May, The Louisville Courier-Journal reports, Laoban died minutes after being injected with “Black Shot,” a “vitamin cocktail” intended to help “performance” (apparently Laoban was struggling to “cover”). The matter is in litigation – the insurance company, in denying the claim, says Laoban was administered expired drugs, and at multiple times the recommended dosage – but that’s not what’s important here.
Ignorant jokes aside, the breeding shed is its own kind of servitude, creating its own kind of suffering. With zero control over his own wants and needs, Laoban was but a machine, and when that machine began breaking down, the humane course – real retirement – was denied, with the prescribed fix destroying the machine outright. All so that a few more widgets – new racehorses, that is – could be produced. Disgusting.
Because his was not an on- or at-track kill, Laoban (below) will not make our list. But make no mistake about it, Horseracing, the industry, is wholly and unequivocally responsible for the death of this poor animal. Full stop.