The famous Santa Anita Horse races (California) as well as a number of other glamorous race tracks have been much in the news these past months, much more than usual, and the news is grim. This is because upwards of 100 race horses have reportedly died or been killed or severely injured in a very short period of time. These horses have fallen to mysterious illnesses, various kinds of flagrant abuse, and just plain being ridden and worked to death in miserable conditions by their riders, trainers and owners. (see The Guardian article: “Death on the Tracks…”)
Enough of a shockwave has passed through the media, the general public and even the rich and famous gambling set that some of the biggest race tracks have been temporarily shut down. But what is truly shocking is that this gruesome tally of the suffering and death of horses is only an uptick of what is considered “normal” and it is not at all new. This kind of horrible abuse of race horses has apparently been going on for a very long time and is very widespread.
A number of watchdog and protest groups have sprung up to combat this injustice and tell the public about the abuses that often have been perpetrated by even the veterinarian doctors and caregivers that supposed to help and heal these horses. In many proven cases they have done just the opposite (ex. drugging horses so that they can run with injuries, then letting them die afterwards – etc.)
Groups like Tuesday’s Horse (their article is reprinted here or linked below) are trying to get out the word that something has to change. They say Horse racing is not glamorous, trendy, fashionable nor an interesting ‘sport’. They say it is a barbarous and unjustifiable abuse of horses and must come to an end.