The first Saturday of May always heralds the Kentucky Derby. 2011 will be the 137th Derby held at Churchill Downs where celebutants and CEOs mix and mingle with their mint juleps in hand. It sounds like the makings of a glossy magazine cover for Southern Living except it’s anything but for the horses. Like dog racing, horsing racing sucks.
Like greyhounds, horses are exploited by an industry only concerned with the almighty buck. And like greyhound racing, horses go from the good tracks to the bad tracks until they are used up. Horses are slaughtered on a large scale and sent to Europe and Japan for gourmet horse meat.
And if you don’t think that Kentucky Derby winners end up in some foreign slaughterhouse, think again. Ferdinand, the 1986 Kentucky
Derby winner who went on to capture the following year’s Horse of the Year title won eight of 29 starts and earned $3,777,978.00, died in a foreign slaughterhouse in 2002.
Just like greyhound racing, horse racing has its own list of dirty little secrets: drugging horses, fixing races, racing too young, racing too many at once (20 horses is more like a stampede); racing too hard before their ankles are fully developed; racing horses on poor surfaces; and racing when injured.
The NY Times reported that 3,035 thoroughbreds, standard-breds and quarter horses died at racetracks between 2003 and 2008. The newspaper also reported that “of the approximately 15,000 licensed horse trainers, 1,335, or 8.9 percent, have been cited for medication violation.
Who can forget Eight Belles crossing the finish line, breaking both her ankles, and then being euthanized? I cannot. That’s what the Kentucky Derby means to me – horse abuse. Her trainer said, “She went out in glory. She went out a champion to us.” That means nothing to Eight Belles; she went out in senseless agony.
According to weather reports, Kentucky has seen much rain. There’s a 60 to 70 percent chance of rain on Kentucky Derby Day. Is a muddy track safe? I guess the Kentucky Derby will only be cancelled if there’s a tornado. Safety for horses or jockeys doesn’t seem to be a concern.
Horse racing is no better than dog racing but perhaps a better kept secret to its abuse. Greyhounds fall and the sport continues although its popularity is waning as its economic feasibility. It seems that both the horse and dog racing industry extracts every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears out of horses and greyhounds treating them like a commodity rather than the living, beautiful creatures that they are.
Bet on a horse or a greyhound and you’re nothing but a big loser.
Lush life for horses; don’t bet on it – Christian Science Monitor
Animals as entertainment; drugs, deception, and death – PETA
Fatal morning accident raises questions – ESPN Horse Racing