Letters-To-Editors

“Re ‘North America’s richest racehorse, Arrogate, dies’ (Sports, June 3): So Bob Baffert cried when he learned of the death of famed racehorse Arrogate. Really? I guess Baffert felt he could have possibly squeezed a few more bucks out of Arrogate. This magnificent animal died at age 7. That’s about 28 for a human. The average life for a horse is 25 to 30 years. That’s about 75 to 85 years for a human.

“If there was a human sport with the equivalent death rate of horse racing it would be banned or heavily modified. But I guess that since they’re only horses in a sport controlled by the wealthy, it makes more sense to put the horses down when they can’t make any more money for the owners and trainers.” – Doug Wheeler, Manhattan Beach, Los Angeles Daily News, 6/12/20

“Two months ago, my two friends and I went to a horse rescue in Chatham, New York, called Equine Advocates. We got a tour of the rescue and we saw all of their equines. The president of the rescue answered all of our questions and told us how all their equines came to be with them.

“One of the horse’s names was Press Exclusive. She was a thoroughbred who raced multiple times and birthed nine foals and when she could not get pregnant a tenth time she was sent to be slaughtered. But on her way to slaughter she was trampled by another horse.

“When Equine Advocates got her, they did not know whether she would survive. That is what could happen to the horses that might race on the Great Barrington track. They are also whipped in full view of spectators, isolated in a stall for up to 23 hours a day, drugged, and sent to auction where they are bought by kill buyers who send them to slaughterhouses in Canada. Horse racing is so cruel and should be made illegal.

“Please help oppose horse racing returning to Great Barrington, Massachusetts. If you live in Great Barrington and want to help, there is going to be a town meeting held on Wednesday, December 11 on this issue.” – Fiona Clary, West Stockbridge, The Berkshire Edge, 12/6/19

“I’ve been following the horse racing issue, reading the many letters to the editor, hearing townspeople and Berkshire-ites discuss the good reasons they oppose horse racing, from traffic to animal cruelty, to environmental and quality of life issues. It’s clear now that the best registered Great Barrington and Housatonic residents can do is attend the special town meeting in Great Barrington on Wednesday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. at Monument Mountain Regional High School and vote to stop horse racing in its tracks.” – Terry Carlo, Pittsfield, The Berkshire Eagle, 11/20/19

“The history of horse racing goes back at least hundreds, and probably in some form, a couple thousand years. It has taken place in developed and undeveloped areas of the world. In the U.S., marketers pushed the title of the ‘sport of kings’ to hark back to the feudal participants in Europe. They sought to bring its status up from its humble beginnings in the rural South, where the primary participants were slaves fresh off the plantations. But Jim Crow laws soon aligned it with folks with money and political power, changing its face forever.

“Let’s take a quick look at the contemporary ‘sport of kings.’ And as you read on, keep in the back of your mind what might this really mean. Is it a ‘sport’ that you might want to teach your children how to play? And, really, just what is the relationship to royalty? In our understanding of this ‘sport’ let’s pick the low hanging fruit first.

“Whipping. The use of brute force appears to be the way to make a horse go faster. I’m not sure how this can be ignored. Let me be clear, the use of a whip inflicts pain. Folks in the ‘industry’ will tell you this is just for motivation, and it doesn’t hurt the animals. I’m not all that bright, but this seems to eschew common sense. Tell me about how it didn’t hurt the last time you were whipped?

“Let’s move on to death. Across the U.S. this year there were 493 racing horses ‘euthanized’ [from this site, by the way]. Through November (LA Times Nov 2, 2019) there were 37 horses ‘euthanized’ at Santa Anita Race Track, not including training deaths [that figure actually does include training deaths]. According to an article in the Oct 22 Patch, there were 17 horse deaths at Los Alamitos. As I interpret the information, the deaths were initiated by owners and their veterinarians because of the significance of the suffering and pain from broken bones and crushed organs.

“I can only conclude that horse racing is not a sport and is in no way related to any modern day kings, at least those here in Los Alamitos. And the horses are not treated like athletes, in any sense of the word. I have heard stories around city hall, over the last 18 years, about how the founding city mothers and fathers were offered the race track, but declined, except for the name … which they gave away. I propose that it is time to take back our good name from the killing fields. Call it whatever you want, like Cypress Rack Track … that’s fine with us. We want no part of it.” – Elliott Singer, Los Alamitos, The Event News Enterprise, 11/20/19

“I’m writing to express my concern about horse racing to return to Great Barrington. There are so many reasons why it would cause problems, from pollution of the ground and water to traffic congestion. When there was racing there for two years in the 1990s, it wasn’t profitable.

“But the main reason I would hate to see horse racing come back is the lousy way the industry generally treats its horses. Most begin training at around 18 months of age, before their bones are strong enough. This can cause injuries at the time or even later on it’s the cause for them being killed because they can’t be winners. More than 10,000 thoroughbreds per year are shipped to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico to be killed and exported for food. These horses include those who lose races, whose stud fee drops, and also nurse horses. Most are 4 to 6 years old, which is quite young considering the average horse lifespan is 25 years and up. Most of those sent for slaughter are in good condition but the ‘kill buyers’ frequently outbid legitimate owners and rescuers.

“Horses are also whipped in full view of spectators, drugged and isolated in stalls for up to 23 hours a day, which is hard on herd animals, who need to socialize. Please contact state Sen. Adam Hinds and your local state representative and ask them to oppose horse racing returning to Berkshire County.” – Cathleen Groves, Adams, The Berkshire Eagle, 11/9/19

“The number of race horses killed this year should tell all of us that perhaps it’s time to give up this dangerous (for horses) sport and let these magnificent animals go back to pasture. Like the elephants in the circus who were finally freed from servitude, surely the ‘race’ horse has run enough miles.” – Mary Lou Gorman, Chico, Chico Enterprise-Record, 11/6/19

“Horse racing has become a sport in which the horses are indisputably born to die. The ‘sport’ is now a source of entertainment for onlookers who are too blind to see the real truth about horse racing. I am writing as a high school student at Pittsfield High School. I realize I am not quite able to vote, but I will be soon enough. As a proud member of the Defenders Club at Berkshire Humane Society, I believe that the horse racing industry should no longer be supported by anyone.

“Over 1,000 horses die every year on the race track and these numbers are no surprise to the horse racing industry. Even more are euthanized at [trainers’] farms, training facilities or due to ‘training deaths.’ It is sickening to me that people are letting this happen right under their noses, but they choose not to care at all. Some injuries can easily be treated or fixed with time, care, and compassion, but the injured horses are seen as useless debt, so the easiest, and least expensive choice is to euthanize the poor horse.

“So all I ask [is] you to not attend any horse racing function because it would be a sign that you find entertainment in the horses’ misery. Please educate your friends and your family about the truth of horse racing.” – Elodie Theriault, Pittsfield, The Berkshire Eagle, 9/20/19

“I am writing as a high school student at TEC Connections Academy, but also as a concerned member of my community. I realize I am not quite able to vote, but I will be soon enough. As a member of the Defenders club at Berkshire Humane Society, I believe NOT supporting the horse racing industry is incredibly important. Horse racing is no longer the ‘sport of kings’ it used to be. It has instead become a sport of corruption, bribery, fraud, greed, and a complete lack of ethics for animals.

“Did you know that over 1,000 horses died last year on the racetrack? That number does not even include the deaths of horses after they were euthanized at the trainer’s farm or private training facilities, what they refer to as ‘training deaths.’ Never mind the horses that were sent to slaughter in other countries after failing in the industry. Where is the accountability for these animals? If dogs or cats were being treated in this same fashion wouldn’t the pubic want justice for the animals?” – Lena P. DuPont, Pittsfield, The Berkshire Edge 9/20/19

“This year, 58 horses have already died on New York state race tracks. Ten have died at Saratoga Race Course since April. Horseracing is cruelty and violence disguised as sport and entertainment. It is predicated on the exploitation of sentient beings as gambling instruments. Horses are moneymakers in a morally bankrupt industry that disposes of them when their returns diminish. The idea that running is natural for these horses is a fallacy blithely repeated to reassure people of their right to participate in this exploitation, and to assuage their guilt about the subsequent deaths, injuries, and miserable, unnatural existence these animals must endure.

“Racehorses are bred as investments and begin ‘training’ at 18 months and racing at 2 years old, even though they do not reach musculoskeletal maturity until around age 6. There is nothing natural about horses being kept isolated in stalls for up to 23 hours a day, deprived of social interaction.

“There is nothing noble in forcing horses, through violent whipping while perched on their back, to run at perilous speeds around a track, often in extreme temperatures, and in dangerous proximity to one another. They suffer horrific fractures, head-on collisions, pulmonary hemorrhages and myriad other dreadful injuries that lead to the same outcome – their untimely deaths at the hands of humans. Tens of thousands are ultimately ‘retired’ to slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico.

“The time has come to shut down this abhorrent travesty. Join a group like Horseracing Wrongs to educate, agitate, and advocate. Do not stand idly by while others bet on lives that are being sacrificed for entertainment. Do realize that the pain, suffering and killing of these horses make for a terrible backdrop to afternoon picnics in fancy clothes. You can like horses. You can like horseracing. You can’t like both.” – Christina Holland, Plattsburgh, The Sun 9/7/19

“Re: ‘Racehorses are dying. Why?’: Thank you for putting the disturbing story of the deaths of so many racehorses on the front page of Sunday’s newspaper. This barbaric pastime must be banned immediately. These beautiful and noble creatures suffer painful and shocking injuries and death due to the racing industry’s lust for revenue and power. The industry has been covering up these deaths for many years and finally it is being exposed in the media for its deliberate cruelty toward these creatures via whipping and doping. Hopefully the perpetrators of these acts can be brought to justice for animal cruelty and the racing industry banned.” – Jean Rose, Richmond, East Bay Times 7/5/19

“Horseracing Wrongs reports 2,000 horses die racing or training on American tracks each year, and thousands more are confined, whipped, and drugged, suffering painful injuries. This figure does not represent the horses that did not make the grade because they were not fast enough, got injured, as the majority are just very young – or the rough equivalent of a kindergartner, and their bones are not fully developed. Horse racing is described as an institutionalized exploitation of baby horses. Those no longer [profitable] are sold like junk, in the back of the tracks, abandoned by their owners. The vast majority of the 15,000 ‘retired’ racehorses are trucked to slaughterhouses in Canada and Mexico to be violently slaughtered and multiple thousands are strung-up and bled-out annually.

“Horse racing is confinement and isolation, buying and selling, needles and syringes, bits and whips. And it is so very deadly. Hundreds more perish from what the industry craftily dismisses as ‘non-racing’ causes – things like colic and laminitis, or simply ‘found dead in stall.’

“The U.S. horse racing industry is engaged in wholesale carnage. Horse racing is an exploitation of a weaker species for $2 bets and frivolous entertainment. For more information go to Horseracing Wrongs.” – Silvie Pomicter, South Abington, The Patriot-News 5/24/19

“The Union-Tribune asks if it is time to end or alter horse racing, suggesting that this ‘sport’ can perhaps be cleaned up, as racing officials have recently opined, so as to become a safe enterprise for horses. But to accomplish that would require the elimination of greed, cruelty, stupidity and callous disregard for animal welfare – all of which are prominently on display in racing.

“Horse racing is, of course, not a sport at all. It is a gambling operation with the animals bearing the mortal risks. And it is no mystery why horses ‘break down.’ Equine veterinarians explain that catastrophic injuries are preventable but inevitable when the industry demands ever more speed in younger horses whose bones are not fully developed, whose minor injuries are masked with drugs to keep the animal performing and who are often viciously whipped.

“This is not how anyone treats an animal loved and valued beyond its potential to make one rich. Spare us the hand-wringing and boo-hooing from racing officials about Santa Anita’s recent 20-plus deaths. About 2,000 horses are killed while racing or training in the U.S. yearly, and everyone involved in the industry knows it.

“I have protested against horse racing at Del Mar for 30 years, and have observed that many racing enthusiasts are unmoved by the painful, violent injuries and deaths at the track. I ask patrons, ‘How many horses have to die before you will turn around?’ My query is often met with a raised middle finger, but the few who answer tell me there is no number that makes a difference. They come to make money and be entertained; the rest does not matter to them, any more than it does to the breeders and buyers and sellers. It is all about money, and many admit it without shame.

“It took many years for the public to realize the truth about the excesses and abuses in marine parks, circuses and dog racing, but these businesses are now on the wane and horse racing will eventually meet the same ending. Hopefully, in San Diego, the media will stop glamorizing opening day as the social event of the year, where a ridiculous hat is more newsworthy than the ugly truth about the racing industry. Meanwhile two out of three retired racehorses are abandoned, euthanized or sold to slaughter – the aftermath of two-dollar bets. Abolish horse racing. You can’t ‘clean up’ a mess this big.” – Jane Cartmill, Encinitas, The San Diego Union-Tribune 5/3/19