Unspeakable Cruelty of Horseracing
Celebrating the beginning of summer a few weeks ago, I was in several towns and cities in New England and was so impressed by how dog-friendly they were. There were water dishes outside most stores, and animals were in parks and at cafes just enjoying time with their families. The human-companion animal bond was quite evident and heartwarming.
For well-cared for animals, summer is great — longer days, more outside activities, vacations, and trips with people they love. Many of us consider these months our favorites.
For those of us living in upstate New York, one of the advertised benefits of our area is horse racing at Saratoga, and the campaign is especially strong right now as the track is celebrating its 150th anniversary. A day at the races is a “must-do” summer excursion for both locals and tourists.
But really — what kind of summer is it for the horses? Transport, racing, confinement in the heat just to hopefully have a few minutes of glory, simply to entertain and make money for the owners and spectators, hardly seems like an ideal way for a naturally grazing herd animal to enjoy him/herself.
But that’s not all — over 70% of these magnificent athletes end up on trucks bound for slaughterhouses in Canada or Mexico. In addition, there is the strong possibility that these grisly slaughter plants may again be legal in the U.S. There is an active campaign now both in New York State and across the country to fight these barbaric practices aimed at squeezing just a little more profit from these animals and providing people in foreign countries with their meat. Over 80% of the American public opposes equine slaughter, but politics, hidden agendas, and corporate greed seem to overrule reason and compassion. Like dogs, horses are an American treasure — how can we ignore their misuse and abuse?
Over the last few months, NYSHA has been at many public events, including several at the New York State Capitol, and one of our top priorities is to work with legislators and the public to educate everyone and anyone about this unspeakably cruel and unnecessary practice. So when the subject of Saratoga being the August place to be comes up, please remember and spread the word that it may be beautiful for its culture and amenities, but if you are a thoroughbred, it is the worst way to enjoy the season — and there is no choice.(To keep up with the ever-changing status of the equine slaughter situation, please check our website nyshumane.org or equinewelfarealliance.org)
As always, for the animals,
New York State Humane Association Humane Review, Vol.XXVII, No.1, Spring/Summer 2013.