On the progress front…
The government of Singapore recently announced that the island’s sole track will be shuttered for good in Oct 2024. Noting the long decline of racing there, the government decided the track’s 300 acres could be put to far better use (badly-needed housing, e.g.). 180 years of animal abuse coming to a close. Excellent indeed.
And yesterday, Chris Churchill, the most widely read columnist in the Capital Region of NY, wrote a damning piece entitled, “Horse racing doesn’t deserve public money.” (Mr. Churchill has previously profiled HW.) A few highlights follow, but please support his fine journalism by reading and sharing the full column.
“Two more horses died at Belmont Park over the weekend…the latest stains on a troubled industry. Meanwhile, that very same Belmont is getting a $455 million taxpayer-funded loan from the state, funding that is just a sliver of the staggering amount of public money handed to horse racing in New York in recent years. So, let me again ask: Why should taxpayers be asked to bless the industry?
“Particulars aside, the reasons for the deaths should be obvious. An activity that encourages animals to run at the highest possible speeds with incredible sums of money at stake is going to put those animals in danger. The incentives to push thoroughbreds toward their breaking point will always be impossible for some breeders and trainers to resist. No new rules or regulations can change that, so the embarrassing weekends for horse racing won’t stop.
“The further decline of horse racing is inevitable, no matter how much money the state throws toward the cause. Even if the so-called loan really does boost the economy, the boon will come at the expense of gamblers — including some whose families can’t afford the losses — and the horses themselves. It isn’t an appropriate use of public money.
“If nothing else, the plan helps illustrate how wildly contradictory we are when it comes to how we view and treat animals. For example, greyhound racing is effectively illegal in New York and most other states, because we’ve determined that dogs shouldn’t be abused that way. Horse racing, however, is still deemed worthy of public support.
“Yet lawmakers, noting the dignity and beauty of the animals, just passed a law that would prohibit the slaughter of horses for human consumption — even as taxpayers prop up an activity in which those dignified animals die so that people can place bets on their frenzied running.”