Last month, I reported the death of 2-year-old Paddock Boss at Churchill. The race, you may remember, was canceled after the start – “management decision.” The stewards have now provided a bit more detail:
“Because [the jockey] appeared to be injured and was unable to be immediately moved, the stewards took the necessary steps to have the field pull up by activating the alarm system and alerting the outriders and announcer…the race declared a No Contest.” Paddock Boss, the stewards go on to note, “suffered a catastrophic injury and was humanely euthanized on the racetrack.”
This, in microcosm, is The Big Lie: horseracing as “sport,” racehorses as “athletes” – “teammates.” Imagine that the only reason the alarm was sounded and the race canceled was the downed jockey (he’s fine, by the way). In other words – and of course this happens on American tracks every day – a dying horse was not going to stop this race. Let him lie there until it’s safe to get the vet out with his pink concoction; first, there are bets to be settled. It is vile. It is horseracing.
The horses are basically an afterthought in that they’re expendable and disposable in the Horseracing industry. It’s a business. It’s more about the profit, the paycheck, the purse money, the wagering handle, the ego trips, the breeding farms marketing the stallions and the stud fees.
I once read that this owner of a Quarter Horse stallion put her daughters through college with the stud fees. He was not a racehorse but he was a performance horse. I don’t think they put his physical safety on the line to the degree that horseracing demands. Who knows what happened to all of his offspring because not all of them can become champions in whatever discipline they’re used for.
Even the champions don’t always get treated well. Look at ALYDAR as an example of what can happen to champion horses. Who can honestly say that ALYDAR had it good when his owner tied a rope and/or chain to his hind leg and the other end to a pickup truck and drove forward to make it look like the horse kicked the side of the stall so hard that it broke the leg of ALYDAR making euthanasia the only option…?
Of course, the owner thought the horse was worth more dead than alive because of the insurance policy. Greed was the owner’s creed.
The horses are voiceless victims in racing and a lot of other realms of our society.
To date the Save our Forgotten Equines SAFE ACT HR3355/S2732 has not been brought to a vote in Congress this year This bill would permanently end horse slaughter in the United States and would also prevent horses from being transported to Canada and Mexico and overseas for slaughter. 35,000 wild and domestic horses have been sent to slaughter last year and 17% are thoroughbreds. They are transported on a grueling journey in double decker trailers with no food or water and meet an inhumane death and some are slaughtered alive. Please take a minute and call your representative to have this bill brought to a vote before this congressional session ends. There are enough bipartisan votes right now to pass in the house but it needs to be voted upon; and it also needs more senate support once it is passed in the house. This is a bipartisan bill. Thank You
More needs to be done to address the side affects of what people who either can’t or won’t take care of their horses will do when they can’t sell their unwanted horses to killbuyers.
It doesn’t appear logical in any way, shape or form that people who exploit horses for breeding, especially on a large scale, are going to stop breeding horses just because people won’t be able to sell unwanted horses to killbuyers.
This unchecked business creates a large population of horses categorized as “unwanted” by their owners.
I think there needs to be some serious thought and serious discussion about what is going to happen to all of these horses that their owners will abuse, abandon, neglect and starve to death even more so than they already do.
More laws need to be written and introduced AND LEGISLATION PASSED to address the real world issues of what to do with the horses that are “unwanted” by their owners. Also, more legislation needs to be passed to address the real world issues of how people who abuse, abandon, neglect and starve horses should be punished so that they can’t be let loose to do the same repeat offenses over and over. The USA needs more prison space and stop the revolving door for serious offenders to get out and offend repeatedly.
Nothing surprises me in this industry, they are truly the lowest of low life scum.
Not stopping a race to mourn the death/slaughter of a horse says it all!
Loved like family, NO.
Love of money, YES!
The “unwanted horse” is at the mercy of its owner due to lack of owner responsibility. Horses are not raised for food and slaughter is not humane euthanasia. It is a nightmare for horses and a money making business for kill buyers for horsemeat. 92% of horses sent to slaughter are young healthy horses. Even now with slaughter as an option owners will continue to choose to abuse and abandon and neglect their horses. There are other alternatives such as sanctuaries and rescues who offer low cost humane euthanasia and affordable composting of remains used by farmers. In 2012 there were 166K horses sent to slaughter and number in 2021 down to 35K. of these 20% are thoroughbreds. Horseracing industry and breeders use the slaughter pipeline as a convenience to serve a purpose.It is easier to get rid of them; sell them to kill buyers than plan for retirement and aftercare. It offers an easy out. Our own government subsidizes the Bureau of Land Management to remove 25-30K wild horses and burros a year from public lands. Instead of using the money for population birth control they warehouse the horses and round up more than needed in a totally mismanaged program. They sell healthy horses for next to nothing and offer people 1000K to adopt a horse with no follow up. This failed adoption program has led a conveyer belt to kill buyers who even out bid sanctuaries and rescues.
If slaughter is not an option then the horseracing industry and breeders would need to deal with a problem that they created. They own them, breed them, use them for money and get rid of them. It would fall back on them to find alternatives for horses they do not want. They have the money and resources to find aftercare, retirement sell them or euthanize them. They have to be accountable and they have more resources than anyone with vets on staff as well. It can impact breeding and the entire industry. It will be an expense for them and would need documentation of ownership and changing hands which is lacking. The US does not want an slaughter plants open as the last one closed 2007 due to environmental and inhumane violations. This is a many faceted problem but accountability and responsibility needs to change as do regulations and laws. This abuse is abhorrent and must stop.