Do you believe that horseracing is fundamentally immoral? That it, at its very core, is animal cruelty? That it must end? If so, Take the Pledge.
This fight in which we are engaged is a public-relations one – a war for America’s hearts and minds. And we are clearly winning. Yesterday, in my Google alerts on horseracing, the following headlines appeared. Again, this was one day – a day, as it happens, that is the most celebrated on the U.S. racing calendar.
New York Times: “Medina Spirit Was Pulled by the Forelegs Into a World That Let Him Down”
The Guardian: “Horse racing is too far gone to be saved. The next best thing is to be honest about it.”
NBC News: “Is American horse racing on its last legs?”
CBS Mobile: “Pro gambler: Online betting could be death of horse racing”
StarTribune (largest paper in Minnesota): “From Kentucky to Canterbury Park, horse racing faces its reckoning”
NBC Tampa: “Tampa trainer faces suspension over horse that died from overdose in New Jersey”
Green Matters: “The Kentucky Derby Has a Dark History of Horse Abuse”
Yesterday, the AP ran an article on dogracing’s impending demise: By the end of this year, there will be but two tracks left in the entire nation (both in West Virginia). We, along with activists everywhere, celebrate this development, and will, of course, continue to advocate for its final end.
Clearly, in regard to how the respective animals are treated, there is not a lick of difference between dogracing and horseracing. But just as clearly, in regard to the scale (money, that is) and how the respective forms are perceived in our society, the gulf is wide – e.g., dogracing was never really seen as a sport; horseracing is “The Sport of Kings.” And consider this from the article: “[At dogracing’s] peak in the 1980s…there were more than 50 tracks across 19 states.” You can basically double those numbers for horseracing today. In addition, Grey2K, the organization most responsible for getting us to the cusp of victory, formed 21 years ago; we’ve been at it for nine. What I’m trying to say is that for those who may be discouraged at the pace of progress, a little bit of perspective is in order.
There is one other point I’d like to address. While Grey2K has been the primary mover, they, as mentioned in the AP piece, have had some help along the way, most notably in Florida ahead of that game-changing referendum in 2018. Their principal ally then: The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS). We, alas, have no such help, at least not at that level of player (several small groups have lent their voices, but no big ones). But rather than rehash what I call the HSUS’ crime against horses, I ask simply that if you are or ever were an HSUS supporter (financially or otherwise), and/or you care about the abuse and wholesale killing of racehorses, then please let them know. Not only will it serve to bring them to account, but hopefully it will help begin the process of providing us some desperately-needed reinforcements.
The Humane Society of the United States
1255 23rd St. NW, Suite 450
Washington, DC 20037
202-452-1100 or 866-720-2676 (M-F 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.)
President Kitty Block’s contact