I just became aware of your blog and want to commend you and your efforts to shut down horseracing. The argument that doing so will cost thousands of jobs is a stubborn one. I moved to Pittsburgh when the steel industry shut down, costing thousands of jobs. It was a very difficult time, but the city came back and many were reemployed in other industries, particularly healthcare.
As a lifelong horse person, I rescued an OTTR 26 years ago. He was 2 and hadn’t come into his sexual maturity. In other words, his testicles hadn’t dropped and didn’t until he was 3. It was painful for him to run, and he was destined for slaughter. I bought him from his trainer, who was also the stable owner where I rode.
The reason I mention this is because of the discussion of aftercare. To care for a horse for his lifetime requires money (it’s not cheap) and undivided attention. And that’s just one horse. Aftercare for the numbers of foals coming through the industry pipeline is untenable and not realistic. The industry must be shut down, giving no more reasons for breeders to continue in their quest to find the next Secretariat.
Over 15 years ago, I was involved in an FBI investigation of horse fraud in the western PA/eastern Ohio area. A man was advertising good homes for retired or unwanted horses in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. In reality, the man was defrauding horse owners through misrepresentation. Instead of finding good homes for old or unwanted horses, he was selling them at auction or sending them to slaughter for money by the pound.
I learned about this the day the man showed up with a trailer at the stable where I boarded my horse. I was stunned that a woman at the stable had answered the ad and readied her 22-year-old Thoroughbred to leave with the man. I took down his plate number and another boarder and I pursued the man with the help of the DA (also a horse lover) and the FBI, which took the case upon her request. My friend and I worked with the FBI and got the man to civil court where he was fined thousands of dollars. The Post-Gazette pulled the ad and we successfully stifled his heinous operation.
A person or society is only as moral as the treatment and esteem for its most vulnerable. In that light, I send gratitude and utmost respect for everything you’re doing for the horses.
Elizabeth Van Dusen