HW Gets Op-Ed in The Baltimore Sun

If you’ve been following this site over the past week, you know we’ve been all over the situation in Maryland. All three network affiliates in Baltimore have covered our position – with, crucially, our information and even more important, our messaging. But the best news yet: With the Preakness on the horizon, I was granted this op-ed in The Baltimore Sun, one of the nation’s most influential newspapers.

Here is more coverage from yesterday:

CBS Baltimore: “Patrick Battuello of the non-profit Horseracing Wrongs said he’s not surprised the suspension was reversed relatively quickly. He said if anyone really cared about the horses, racing would be shut down permanently. ‘They come out with these assurances that no stone will be left unturned, that all safety protocols are being reexamined and that equine welfare is paramount,’ Battuello said. ‘In the end, business gets right back to usual, and the horses will continue to die, guaranteed.'”

NBC Baltimore: “A horse advocacy group called Horseracing Wrongs said the track isn’t the problem; it’s the industry. ‘From breeding for speed to employing pubescent bodies, to the incessant grinding, forcing them to run at an unnatural rate, in an unnatural way and through unnatural means, horseracing guarantees a certain level of killing — guarantees,’ the group said.”

And finally, largely because of us, ABC Baltimore ran a poll asking if Maryland should ban horseracing. The results speak for themselves…

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  1. I’m on my way out the door right now…but, I just had to say “Thank you to the crew” for your AWESOME works you do for trying to save these precious animals!

  2. It would appear that the message is getting across. Horse racing receives subsidies, uses land that could be better repurposed, and the cruelty to the horses goes without saying. Great article, Patrick. Congratulations.

  3. That’s an interesting split of the people polled; 2% do not follow horseracing and have no opinion, 73% say YES, PROTECT THE HORSES.
    That’s reassuring to know that almost 3/4 of the people polled care about the horses enough to know that the only sure way to protect the horses from being maimed and killed by racing is to BAN RACING.
    I’m definitely looking forward to the Horseracing Wrongs protests of the Preakness Stakes! Thank you to all of you who are showing up for the horses!

  4. ‘*P.e.r.f.e.c.t.*/indisputable/hard-hitting op-ed in The Baltimore Sun, Patrick!!
    In ABC Baltimore’s poll asking if Maryland should ban horseracing, instead of wording their 3rd option, (Above), “Yes, end horse racing,” I’m SO GRATEFUL that they worded their 3rd option like this instead: “Yes, protect the horses”


    that’s. what. it’s. all. about.

  5. The track (even to someone without any experience in the industry), clearly
    knows before the announcer says the “track is like concrete”. There
    is no natural earth in the surface whatsoever and natural earth is what horses
    need to run on and even then at break-necking fractions they still come back
    to the barn with throbbing hooves and damaged limbs. Every part of their
    body in pain! That is if they survive the race!

    This surface reminds me of what roads used to look like before tar was applied
    as the final sealant for major highways.

    Also, please note in this film a horse was turned out and did you see the anxiety
    packing back and forth, no interest in standing still and watching the surroundings
    just nervous energy on the move. I would say this horse is exhibiting human signs
    of an anxiety attack and horses are extremely sensitive and they do suffer from
    anxiety. Somebody attached to Horse Racing Wrongs video tape this newscast
    before the station deletes this film from its archives.

    • Audieboru, I worked as a groom for a short time at a training track for a certain trainer of Thoroughbred racehorses way back in the late 1970s and there was one gelding out of the four horses that the trainer gave me the responsibility to take care of in the mornings. His name was JESSON R. He was an extra sensitive horse but he was a nice horse. He had to stand in the stall 23 hours a day like they all do. There was no turnout in the back of the stall. It was three solid walls and then the front wall had a door. The door was divided in half horizontally and the bottom half was closed while the top half was open so the horses could stand there and look out. JESSON R would stand there and get really nervous and just start shaking. He was just standing in place looking out the top half of the door and shaking. That’s definitely a sign of anxiety in humans. On one occasion, the trainer and the other groom (that had worked for this trainer much longer than I had) went to his stall and did something-something.
      They didn’t let me in on the details but what I think they did was give him a tranquilizer of some sort.

      • Out of the four horses, three were geldings and one was a mare. The one gelding that showed signs of extreme anxiety just standing in his stall was named JESSON R.

  6. The only way to stop the abuse is to ban horse racing and breeding…
    Make it completely illegal..
    And if caught..life in prison…
    With never a chance to harm horses again.
    All those nasty despicable disposable pos..who work in the horse race industry..
    Would have to find another way to steal..lie and use somebody to gain their millions of dollars…unless of course the pos were behind bars for life instead…that would sure be nice for the horses

    • One thing about criminals being bars is that some of them can still connect with the other members of their gang/ group/ organization/ whatever they call themselves that are not behind bars. At least, if the ones that ABUSE animals were behind bars, they would not be able to get their filthy hands on their voiceless victims directly.

  7. Great article!!!! They also over-breed because so many break down in training that they need a stock supply to replace the ones who “don’t make it” ie: aren’t good enough (true horsemanship doesn’t exist in this industry so they say it’s the horses fault), injury (caused by the training methods), and ultimately confinement, racing methods which we know leads to their demise – death, low end auctions, slaughter. It is a disgusting industry.

  8. You are completely right because the poor innocent horses will always be made to suffer as babies right up until they either die on the d track in horrific ways or get horrifically bled to death in a gruesome slaughterhouse because the owners only care about making money and fame for themselves and to hell with the horses

  9. While the industry itself does a pretty good job of hiding all its atrocities – and I must admit, as a former horseplayer for over 35 years it wasn’t until I began reading this site that I became aware of the animal abuse and rampant cheating that occurs on a daily basis – and now, more and more people are seeing the true picture.

    73% say to ban horse racing? That’s an enormously favorable number, UNLESS, of course, you happen to be a part of the horse racing world.

    I have never considered myself to be either stupid or gullible. But before HW began its extensive research and reporting, most of the horror – and the outright cheating -was kept well hidden to the general public.

    While many of the comments here are filled with raw anger, hatred and vitriol aimed at this industry, unfortunately – for the racing industry, that is – much of it can be justified because of the true FACTS about the deaths, the treatment and the daily abuse these animals are forced to go through. As a former bettor, a day at the races was always a happy, enjoyable social outing made even more enjoyable if you won. The horses were always trotted out in their Sunday best, and even the most hard-core gamblers in my former peer group were suitably impressed by the majesty of these beautiful and powerful animals who would run their hearts out – sometimes literally – almost every day at the race track..

    None of us really knew about the true nature of the disgusting, vile underbelly of horse racing that has been exposed by this site. Most, like myself, thanks to the racing industry’s ever-churning PR machine, thought that the deaths were an aberration, NOT an everyday occurrence; and that the horses were, for the most part, always very well treated.

    After all, logic dictates that it’s downright stupid to abuse million dollar investments – and that the cheating and drugging, while always there in the background ,was not as widespread as we see it truly is now – think Bob Baffert. Many still don’t, many won’t believe it, and many will continue to wager. But I sure wouldn’t place a bet on horse racing surviving too many more years. That 73% figure is an ominous sign AND odds I would definitely NOT take if I were still betting on the horses.

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