NYRA’s Laughable “We Aspire to Zero Deaths”

Last week, in response to the kill cluster at Saratoga (five in five days), I was interviewed by WAMC, Albany’s NPR affiliate. Of course, the New York Racing Association was afforded more space (than I) to spew their excrement, and the article really only talks about one death (Maple Leaf Mel – who else?), and the title itself was extremely biased, but it’s coverage for our side nonetheless. This exchange in particular was worth it:

Patrick Battuello, founder of non-profit watchdog Horseracing Wrongs, contends animal cruelty and deaths are baked into racing – and most incidents aren’t carried on national TV like the Test Stakes was.

“Knowing going in that horses will die, absolutely guaranteed, are you comfortable with that? And it doesn’t really matter how many. Those are 15 beautiful, intelligent, sentient lives that are lost each summer for $2 bets and for frivolous entertainment,” he said. “And if you’re comfortable with that, then so be it. But if you’re not, there is no other choice here.”

McKenna [NYRA’s spokesperson] disputes that characterization. “We don’t believe so,” he said. “We aspire to get that number to zero.”

Zero kills. Lies, lies, and more lies. (Full piece here.)

Also, I was a recent guest on the Animals Today podcast. I thank Peter and Lori, longtime hosts and wonderful advocates, for the great opportunity.

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  1. McKenna’s statement “we aspire to get that number to zero” is ridiculous.
    As long as there is racing horses will be killed. And the deaths on race days and while training are the more visible. But
    many more deaths occur because of what the horses are subjected to in this business.
    Does Mr McKenna ever think about the deaths in the slaughterhouses of Canada and Mexico? Does he think about the numbers bred to be raced but never make it to the track and the discarded broodmares.
    Racing is responsible for so much carnage beyond the smashed bodies on the tracks.

    • I’m sure he does think about the horses being shipped to the slaughterhouses, but not in the same way we do. I’m certain that he thinks of the hundreds, if not thousands, of Thoroughbreds being sold for processing in slaughterhouses in much the same way as some people think about collecting aluminum cans and selling them to a recycling center. They get some money out of the horses/ cans after the “objects” have been used for their “intended” purpose and now are just so much garbage to be disposed of once they have outlived their usefulness to the users and abusers.

  2. Spewing excrement is the specialty of the power brokers and the stakeholders of this vile horse-killing industry in addition to abusing, doping and maiming and killing horses. They do everything they can to deceive the general public and bettors or potential bettors. Gambling on racehorses is their “product” to those who choose to gamble on the horses and it is not expectable for these die-hard horse-abusing, horse-doping, horse-killing people to give that up and be honest.

    Look at Jeff Blea willing to lose his license to practice Veterinary Medicine from the State of California by breaking the rules and regulations and laws regarding Veterinary Medicine. As Kelly Griffin said, Jeff “No Exam Needed” Blea…
    Jeff Blea has the “character trait” to be as dishonest, deceitful and two-faced as they come. He is the silver-tongued devil of the California Horse Racing Board. He has said that even one death is one too many. Of course, they keep on abusing and killing horses for racing and wagering handle in California because that’s what they do.
    Forcing yearlings and 2-year-olds to run at a full gallop while carrying a whip-wielding rider on their backs is definitely abuse and not horsemanship.

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